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OF 1913-14 


THE substance of the following chapters was delivered 
in lecture form to a class of young men and women 
during the winter of 1913-14. A few minor additions and 
corrections have since been made, but the bulk of the 
material remains as originally delivered. The volume 
is now published in the hope that Bible students, and 
possibly teachers of Bible classes, may find it useful in 
the way of providing a background upon which to 
project the Scripture narrative, and of enabling the 
reader to form some conception of the great lands and 
nations with which the Chosen People had to deal. 
Such a volume, of course, can lay no claim to 
originality ; for its main function is to present in 
small compass facts for which the student might 
otherwise have to seek through many large and costly 
treatises. Accordingly the reader who is familiar with 
the litejature will be able to trace in each section the 
writer's debt to the great masters of the subject which 
is being dwelt with a debt which is here gratefully 
acknowledged, just as it has been acknowledged 
wherever possible, in the text. It is hoped that the 
value of the book as a medium of instruction may 
be greatly enhanced by the fulness of its scheme of 
illustration. In the case of Palestine, it is mainly 


the land that has been illustrated ; in the case of 
Mesopotamia and Egypt the works of art and the 
historic monuments of these countries have been drawn 
upon. For the photographs of Palestine, my thanks are 
due to the Rev. W. Ewing, D.D., Edinburgh, for plates 
in 2 , iv 1 , v, vi, vii, vm, xi, xin and xiv ; the Rev. W. S. 
Matheson, M.A., Galashiels, for Plate x ; and Mr. T. 
Thomson, Ancrum, for Plates in 1 and iv 2 . 






























i. Jerusalem from the traditional spot on the Mount 

of Olives where Christ wept over the City Frtmttsfifie 


ii. Mount Hermon 5 

i i. Convent of Mar Saba \ 

ni '\2. The Ascent of Blood j I2 

The River Jordan, near Jericho "\ 
Source of the River Jordan I ' 

Shore of the Dead Sea \ 

Site of Bethel / 2I 

/i. Bethany from the East ^ 

VI '\2. Apostle's Fountain I 2B 

vii. Shepherd in the Wilderness of Judea 32 

fi. Mosque of Omar \ 

VIIIf \2. Mosque El Aksa I 37 

ix. Shishak's List of Conquests 44 

f i. Ahab's Palace, Samaria I 

Xi \2. Herod's Stair, Ahab's Palace / 49 

fi. Herod's Street, Samaria \ 

f \2. Temple of Samaria I 53 

xn. Mount Carmel 60 

xiii. Gideon's Fountain, Gilboa 64 

/i. Horns of Hattin, Mount of Beatitudes \ A 

MV< \2. Lake-Front, Tiberias / ^ 

xv. Excavating the City of Gezer 76 
xvi. High Place at Gezer (before and after excavation) 81 
xvn. Brick of Eannatum, an early Patesi of Shirpurla 85 
1 - Statue of Gudea ^ 

. Mace head of Sargon of Akkad / 92 
xix. Stele of Naram-Sin, showing that king on the field 

of battle 96 

xx. Hammurabi Worshipping the Sun God 101 

xxi. Statue of Ashur-nat sir-pal III 108 



xxii. Siege of a City by Ashur-natsir-pal 1 1 3 
v T /i. Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser \ 

XXIII 'U Tribute of Jehu / II7 

xxiv. Sennacherib at Lachish 124 

xxv 1 ' y? a & on 128 
\2. Dying Lioness / 

r i. Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions \ 

XXVI \2. Hunting Scene : Dogs on leash / ^ 

VV ,TTT f 1 - Cylinder of Nebuchadnezzar ) T ._ 

XXV1I "U Cylinder of Cyrus / I4 

xxvin. Winged Man-Headed Lion 145 

xxix. Creation Tablets 149 

xxx. Deluge Tablets 156 

(i. The Nile at Thebes \ , 
xxxi. -^ The Town of Assiut Curing the Inundation/ I0 


i. The Nile at Thebes 
The Town of Assiut 
Double Shaduf at Work 

, /i. Double Shaduf at Work \ - 

- U- Sakkieh or Water Wheel/ I>5 

xxxni. An Egyptian Ship, 1500 B.C. 172 

xxxiv. An Egyptian Royal Tomb 177 

xxxv. Hall of Temple at Abydos 181 

YVYVT f 1 - Step-Pyramid, Saqqara \ g8 

XXXVI '\2. Great Sphinx, Gizeh / l88 

xxxvn. Battle Relief of Sety I, Karnak 192 

xxxvni. Pillared Hall, Karnak 197 

fi. Ramesseum, with fragments of Colossus of *\ 

xxxix. -^ Rock Temple of Abu Simbel [Ramses II / 2 4 

XL. Statue of Ramses II 209 

XLI. Triumph Stele of Merenptah 213 

XLII, Naval Battle of Ramses III, Medinet Habu 220 
VTTTT f l - Counting hands of the Dead before Ramses III\ 

XLIIL \2. Prisoners of Ramses III / 224 
vr TV f 1 - Great Gate of the Temple of Edfu ^i 

XLU> \2 Courts of the Great Temple of Edfu/ 22?9 

/i. Inner Hall of Edfu 

XLV ' \.2. View into the Holy of Holies, Edfu 23 


fi. Bark of Amen, Karnak \ 

\2. Shrine at Edfu / 


I f 1 * A Grou P of Egyptian Gods ) 

\2. Sety I, offering Incense to Osiris, Abydos / 245 
XLVIII. Hittite SculptureThe Lion of Marash 256 

Map of the World of Old Testament History 
at end of Volume 





IN the following pages we have to deal with that well- 
defined area of the ancient East which in pre-classical 
times was the focus of human activity and civilization, 
and with the small group of nationalities which, from 
the dawn of history up to the coming of Christ con- 
tended for supremacy in that area. Roughly speaking, 
the limits are the Taurus Mountains on the north, and 
the First Cataract of the Nile on the south, while the 
chief kingdoms and races which play their part on this 
stage are those of the Hebrews, the Assyrians and 
Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Syrians, and the 
Hittites, with various smaller peoples. 

Of the area in question, the geographical centre and 
the focus of interest may be said to be Palestine. The 
centres of empire were elsewhere, at one time farther 
south, at another farther north. But Palestine is not 
only central from the point of view of the Biblical 
student. She was also the meeting-point and battle- 


ground of the great empires which lay on either side 
of her, the bridge for their intercourse, and the prize 
of their struggles. With Palestine therefore, the land 
which from the historical point of view was the focus 
of the ancient East, and from the religious point of view 
the focus of the world's spiritual life, we have first to do. 

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the 
Holy Land as a factor in the history of the world. The 
only other land which can for a moment be put in 
comparison with it is Greece. And, great as is the 
debt which the world owes to Greece for her inestimable 
contribution to human thought and art, there can be 
no question that the final significance of Palestine is 
greater still. From time immemorial this land has 
been the debatable ground of empires and the nursery 
of faiths. Of the three great religions which have 
mainly influenced the world's development Judaism, 
Christianity, and Mohammedanism two sprang 
directly from the soil of the Holy Land, and the third 
rose among a people of kindred blood to the Hebrews, 
and would never have taken the shape it did but for 
the influence of the first two. 

When we think of such things we are apt to imagine 
that the land which has such a record must have a 
corresponding physical importance beauty, fertility, 
greatness of extent matching the place it has filled in 
history. Yet a moment's consideration cures us of 
such an idea. "All the great things/' Disraeli has 
said, " have been done by the little nations. It is 
the Jordan and the Ilyssus that have civilized the 
modern races." The statement is scarcely an exag- 
geration. The great events of history almost inevitably 
bring up the memory of the small lands. 


Most markedly this truth comes out with regard to 
Palestine. Its most apparent feature is its smallness. 
To call it " the least of all lands " is scarcely to do it an 
injustice. " Leaving Jaffa at 10 A.M./' says Dr. Kelman, 
" the steamer reaches Beyrout at 6 P.M. The passengers 
in that short sail have seen the whole of Palestine. 
National life there is a miniature rather than a picture. 
In a stretch of country equal to that between Aberdeen 
and Dundee, you cover the whole central ground of 
the Bible, from the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem. In a 
ride equal to the distance from London to Windsor 
there may be seen enough to interpret many centuries 
of the world's supreme history. The Dead Sea is but 
50 miles from the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee 
about 25 miles ; while the distance in miles between 
the two seas is only 55." Actually, from Dan to Beer- 
sheba, the proverbial limits of the land, the distance is 
140 miles. The line of the Jordan averages 50 miles 
from the Mediterranean. At its greatest expanse the 
land measures not more than 140 miles by 80. It is a 
pocket edition of a kingdom. 

This small land is strictly fenced on all sides, with 
one or two limitations, which we shall have to notice. 
On the west lies the Mediterranean, the Great Sea, the 
" Very Green/' as the Egyptians called it. To most 
other nations, ancient or modern, the sea has been 
not so much a boundary as an outlet. In old times 
the Cretans, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, in more 
modern days the Venetians, the Dutch, and our own 
nation, have all found the sea their gateway to the 
outer world. To them the sea has not been the 


separator, but the uniter, an always open door, and an 
unfenced path. To the Jew, and to his land, it was 
never so. 

Look at the map of Palestine, and you see that the 
coast is practically harbourless. " North of Carmel," 
says Principal G. A. Smith, " Nature has so far assisted 
man by prompting here a cape, and dropping there an 
islet, that not a few harbours have been formed which 
have been and may again become historical." The 
result of even the slightest natural help, with the rich 
lands of Syria and Mesopotamia behind, was the estab- 
lishment of the great commerce of the Phoenicians, 
with their world-renowned ports of Tyre and Sidon. 
But the coast-line north of Carmel was never in the 
hands of the Hebrews, but always in those of a race 
which \vas sometimes hostile, sometimes a temptation 
to idolatry, always alien. 

South of Carmel the coast-line is much more strictly 
drawn, and shows neither promontory nor bay, nothing 
but an unbroken line of sand-hills and cliffs. " I have 
twice sailed/ 1 says Dr. Smith, "along this coast on a 
summer afternoon, with the western sun thoroughly 
illuminating it, and I remember no break in the long 
line of foam where land and sea met, no single spot 
where the land gave way and welcomed the sea to itself. 
It seemed as if the land were everywhere saying to the 
sea, 'I do not wish you; I do not need you. 1 " "A 
shelf for the casting of wreckage and the roosting of 
sea-birds/' he calls the coast-line elsewhere. 

The inhospitable character of the sea's approach 
to Palestine is reflected in the very language of the 
Hebrews. We talk of a port or a harbour, which 
mean, the one a gate or door for ships to go in and out 



by, the other a place of protection for a fleet. The 
Hebrew had no such words in his speech. He spoke 
of "the beach of Zebulun" and "the sea of Joppa." 
The note of the sea throughout the Old Testament is 
that it is not a path but a boundary. " Ye shall have 
the great sea for a border," said Moses, at the very 
beginning of Jewish history. 

The consequences of this inhospitable coast-line 
are plainly written across all the history of the land. 
Palestine was practically never invaded from the sea. 
Her invaders came by the land, either from the south, 
by the way of Egypt, or from the north beyond Carmel. 
Still more manifest and important, the Hebrew, trader 
to the finger-tips as he was, never became a sea-trader. 
He was always a bad sailor. When Solomon sent his 
gold-seeking expedition to Ophir, wherever that may 
have been, it was in the ships of Hiram of Tyre, and 
whenjehoshaphat tried a similar expedition, presum- 
ably with Jewish sailors, the fleet never got beyond the 
harbour-mouth ; " the ships were broken at Ezion- 
geber." The Hebrew's idea of Elysium was "a place 
of broad rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley 
with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby/' The 
sea was the great separator, shutting off the chosen 
people on the west from the Gentile world. 

The first sign of a change of outlook comes when 
Isaiah foresees the time when "the abundance of the 
sea shall be converted " unto Jehovah. " Who are 
these ? " he cries, watching in imagination the white- 
winged galleys hastening to bring their precious freight 
to the glory of God. "Who are these that fly as a 
cloud, and as the doves to their windows ? Surely the 
isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, 


to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold 
with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to 
the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee " 
(Isaiah Ix. 8-9). But it was only the irresistible impulse 
of the new love of humanity inspired by Christ that 
finally broke down the isolation and the terror, and sent 
forth St. Paul, not, like Jonah, to flee from the task of 
declaring God's will, but to proclaim among the Gentiles 
the unsearchable riches of Christ. 

The Lebanons. On the north the boundaries of 
the land are the two great mountain ranges of Lebanon 
and Anti- Lebanon. Rather it would be true to say that 
this great double range is not so much the boundary as 
the root of the whole land. Of the western range, the 
Lebanon proper, the ridge which makes the backbone 
of Palestine is merely a continuation, gradually sinking 
down, with one breach, the Plain of Esdraelon, from 
the 10,000 feet altitude of the great mountain to the 
long plateau of Judaea, with its average elevation of 
about 2400 feet. From the eastern range, the head of 
which is Mount Hermon, over 9000 feet in height, the 
mountain wall is practically continuous all the way 
down the eastern side of the Jordan. It sinks to a 
level of about 2000 feet in the Hauran plateau, is 
broken by valleys in Gilead, but becomes again a level 
tableland throughout the land of Moab, with its sharp 
escarpment towards the west. Between these two long 
spurs of the Lebanons runs the Jordan Valley. The whole 
land of Palestine, in fact, is framed upon the outlying 
ranges of the great mountain masses to the north. 

In addition, the Lebanons are the source of the four 
great rivers of Syria, the Jordan, the Abana, or Barada, 
the Orontes, and the Litany, while the climate of the 


whole land is profoundly modified by the proximity of 
the mountains with their perennial snows. Hermon, 
in particular, seems to dominate the land. " Go where 
you will in Palestine," says Dr. Kelman, " Hermon 
seems to lie at the end of some vista or other. Its 
mass tilts the plain, and sends out innumerable spurs 
of rich and fertile land ; its snow shines far and gives 
character to the view. . . . This is the king of Syria 
by whose beneficent might the desert has become 
oasis/' The influence of Hermon is reflected every- 
where in Hebrew thought and poetry. To the Hebrew 
the very dew that lies thick on his fields is the gift of 
the great snowy mountain. "As the dew of Hermon 
that descended upon the mountains of Zion " (Ps. 
cxxxiii. 3). 

The Desert. On the east and south the land is 
bounded by the desert, and the presence of "this great 
and terrible wilderness" is felt on almost every page of 
the nation's story. Out of its desolation the Hebrews 
came to their inheritance, and it was the contrast with 
its burning sands and barren rocks that made the 
chosen people see in a country which, at its best, can 
never have been surpassingly fertile, a veritable " garden 
of the Lord/' " a land flowing with milk and honey." 
Had the Israelites come straight from the abundance 
of the Nile Valley, Palestine would have seemed poor 
and bare to them ; but years of wandering amidst the 
barrenness of the wilderness taught them a different 
standard, and the Land of Promise was judged, not by 
comparison with the most fertile country in the ancient 
world, but with the arid and inhospitable waste which 
they were leaving. On the east, indeed, the Holy Land 
was protected from this stern neighbour by one of the 


most wonderful valleys in the world, the great gorge of 
the Jordan, a vast trench to keep out the sands into 
which the mountains of Moab roll off eastwards. All 
the same, the desert has profoundly influenced the 
history of the land. 

Palestine was peopled again and again from the 
desert. Long before the Hebrews came up out of its 
depths, earlier nomad tribes had drifted in across the 
Jordan Gorge and established themselves in Canaan. 
After the chosen people had settled in their heritage, 
they had repeatedly to fight for their national existence 
against the eastern drift, Midianites, Amalekites, and so 
forth, the wandering tribes who were always hankering 
after the green fields and vineyards. It was the inroad 
of a desert race and a desert faith that confounded 
Judaism and Christianity in one common overthrow 
when the Moslems conquered the land. And modern 
travellers tell us how the process is still going on, so 
that the black haircloth tents of the desert wanderers 
can be seen in the very heart of the country. 

But it was not only by actual invasion that the desert 
influenced Palestine. Everywhere in the Bible you 
can feel the sense of the immediate presence of that 
austere, uncanny, mysterious neighbour. The Hebrew 
was a man who, every day of his life, looked out from 
a mountain-top upon the perpetual reminder of how 
near were solitude, desolation, and death. The sight 
sobered his thought, gave sternness and austerity to his 
faith, kept him, perhaps, more closely in touch with the 
great Unseen. It was from the desert that Israel's two 
greatest prophets of action, Elijah and John the Baptist, 
C'ime up to confound the luxury and materialism of 
their nation. The wilderness had brought them face 


to face with God, and so taught them to despise the 
shows of worldly power and pride that kings were to 
them no more than other sinners. It was to the desert 
that our Saviour went to ponder over the meaning of 
His* mission, and to fight His great battle with tempta- 
tion. And, when His chief apostle felt himself com- 
mitted to Christ's service, Paul, like his Master, went 
to the desert to think out his problems, and gain a clear 
vision of his path, unvexed by worldly considerations. 
One need not wonder that men who found enough 
for life in scenes where existence is brought down to 
its simplest factors learned to think lightly of worldly 
splendours, and were invulnerable to worldly allure- 
ments. In that great silence God alone spoke to their 
souls ; and amidst all the thousand voices and clamours 
of the busy world to which they came forth they still 
heard the clear tones that had convinced them once 
and for all in the desert solitude. 

Within these limits, then, of mountain, sea, and 
desert, lay the Holy Land proper ; and inside these 
lines the land itself falls into four clearly marked 
sections or strips, running roughly north and south. 
A clear grasp of this broad and simple division is 
absolutely necessary to any understanding of the 
history of Palestine ; for the form of the land has to a 
great extent determined the course of its history. 
Beginning, then, on the east, we have : 
I. The Eastern Range. 
II. The Jordan Valley. 

III. The Central Range. 

IV. The Maritime Plain. 


These four long strips, running mainly parallel with 
the coast-line, are the fundamental features of the 
country, an alternation of mountain and valley, 
mountain and plain. The broad division is modified, 
however, by certain subsidiary variations, which have 
had their own influence, as we shall see, upon the story 
of the land. 

The Eastern Range, as already mentioned, is a 
spur or outlier of Mount Hermon. It sinks swiftly 
down from his slopes to a height of about 2000 feet ; 
and at that level it spreads out into the broad 
plateau known as the Hauran. South of that again 
it becomes more broken, no longer a tableland, but 
a stretch of really hilly country, through Gilead ; 
while still farther south the tableland reappears, and 
extends southwards through Moab, its sharp western 
escarpment making the mountain wall which bounds 
the Dead Sea on its eastern side the Mountains of 

Next comes the Jordan Valley, or rather the 
Jordan Gorge, perhaps the most remarkable cleft on 
the face of the earth. Almost immediately south of 
the Lebanons it begins to sink below sea-level. By 
the time it reaches the Sea of Galilee it is 680 feet 
below that level, having fallen this distance in ten 
miles. Still sinking rapidly for the next 65 miles, it 
reaches 1290 feet below sea-level at the Dead Sea. 
Add to that another 1300 feet, the depth of the Dead 
Sea in its deepest part, and you see that the world 
presents no parallel to this huge trench cut 2600 feet 
deep into the very bowels of the earth. " It is this 
great cleft that isolated the Holy Land for the purposes 
of its God." 


The Central Range. Rapidly rising in precipitous 
slopes from the Jordan Gorge comes the Central Range. 
Now, for all practical purposes, the Central Range is 
Palestine ; that is to say, it is the Palestine which we 
know as the home of the Hebrews. It was the heart 
of the land. Along its heights clustered all the great 
historical cities, and it was the part of the inheritance 
of the tribes which was first won, and latest held. 
Through Galilee, this spur of the Lebanon consists 
partly of plateau, partly of hill ranges broken by valleys 
running mainly east and west. South of Galilee, it 
sinks to one of the most famous plains in the world, 
the Plain of Esdraelon, the great battle-ground of the 
nations in ancient history. Rising again in Samaria, 
it sends out a long spur to the sea in Carmel, but is in 
the main open hill country, diversified with broad and 
fertile valleys. Towards Bethel it gathers itself up into 
the narrow Mountain of Judaea, a high plateau with an 
average elevation of about 2400 feet, which continues 
till beyond Hebron, from which point it gradually 
slopes down to the southern desert. 

The Maritime Plain. West of the Central Range 
comes the Maritime Plain, the great war-road of the 
nations in ancient days. But the mountain does not 
look directly upon the plain. Between the two there 
lies a line of low hills, " round, bare and featureless, 
but with an occasional bastion flung well out in front 
of them." In the southern district these hills are 
separated from the Mountain of Judaea by a series of 
valleys running south from Ajalon almost to Beersheba, 
while three or four passes cut right through from the 
Judrean plateau to the plain ; farther north, in Samaria, 
they are merged gradually in the more broken hill 


country of the northern kingdom. This land of the 
foot-hills was known as the Shephelah, and was the 
scene of most of the guerrilla warfare waged between 
Israelites and Philistines, Maccabees and Syrians, 
Crusaders and Saracens. 

The Maritime Plain divides into three sections. The 
angle south of Carmel runs, gradually widening to 
a breadth of about 2 miles, for about 20 miles to 
the Crocodile River, or Nahr-el-Zerka. From this 
point begins the Plain of Sharon, whose flowers were 
the emblems of perfect beauty. Sharon extends 
for about 44 miles to beyond Jaffa, and has a 
breadth varying from 8 to 12 miles. Southwards 
of the low hills which mark its boundary, begins 
the Plain of Philistia, the home of Israel's ancient 
enemy, a forty-mile stretch of fertile corn-land, 
swelling occasionally into gentle ridges which reach a 
height of 250 feet or so. 

Along these hundred miles of plain the armies of all 
the great nations of antiquity passed on their way to 
conquest or to overthrow. The Maritime Plain was 
the bridge between Africa and Asia, and, peaceful as it 
now seems, almost every foot of its area has been 
trampled again and again by armed hosts, and soaked 
with human blood. 

Such, then, are the great outlines of the form of 
Palestine. Viewing this four-fold division broadly, we 
may note the chief consequences which flowed his- 
torically from its existence. Of these the first and the 
most apparent is that the land was never designed for 
national unity in the sense in which we understand 
the term. Her divisions, and the diversity of condition 
to which they give rise, mark her out as a land of 


. FWIHI;, D.D. 

1. CONVENT OF MAR SABA (/. 1 8) 

The Crusaders? " Chftstel Ro-ugc '' crowns the hill 


tribes, essentially distinct from one another, however 
the power of circumstances might force them occa- 
sionally into closer union. "Take a section of the 
country across Judaea. With its palms and shadoofs, 
the Philistine Plain might be a part of the Egyptian 
Delta ; but on the hills of the Shephelah which over- 
look it, you are in the scenery of Southern Europe ; 
the Judacan moors which overlook them are like the 
barer uplands of Central Germany ; the shepherds 
wear sheepskin cloaks and live under stone roofs 
sometimes the snow lies deep ; a few miles farther 
east and you are down on the desert among the 
Bedouin, with their tents of hair and their cotton 
clothing ; a few miles farther still, and you drop to 
torrid heat in the Jordan Valley ; a few miles beyond 
that and you rise to the plateau of the Belka, where 
the Arabs say ' the cold is always at home/ Yet from 
Philistia to the Belka is scarcely seventy miles." (G, A. 
Smith, " Hist. Geog.," p. 56.) 

The Tell-el-Amarna letters, with their picture of 
scuffling and raiding tribes, represent the natural con- 
dition of the land when left to itself. The strong hand 
of a great power such as the Egypt of the time of 
Tahutmes III. might control and unify for a time the 
warring elements ; but the moment its grasp relaxed 
disunion reasserted itself. Even in Israel the same 
disruptive tendencies are manifest all through the 
national story. The tribes were always jealous of 
one another, and always ready to assert their tribal 
rights even to the detriment of the national welfare. 

Again the broad lines of mountain and valley and 
mountain and plain are significant as determining the 
spheres of influence of the various nationalities. 


Roughly speaking, wherever you have hill country in 
Palestine you have Hebrew land, and in proportion to 
the mountainous character and inaccessibility of the 
country you have land that is more and more 
tenaciously Hebrew. The mountain was fit only for 
infantry warfare; the valleys and plains could be 
crossed and swept by chariots and cavalry. 

Now as Palestine was the bridge between Africa 
and Asia, she was the war-road of the great nations of 
the ancient East, Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Persia. 
Naturally these nations chose to pass, not by the diffi- 
cult line of the Central Range, but by the valleys and 
plains where their chariots and cavalry could move 
and operate. Therefore, the Maritime Plain, the 
inevitable road of armies, never was held at all by 
the Hebrews for any length of time. The Plain of 
Esdraelon, together with the Upper Jordan Valley, 
was only held at intervals. 

Israel's true inheritance was the Central Range, 
where her stubborn highlanders, fighting on foot with 
bow and spear, could defy the troops whose chariots 
and horsemen would have scattered them like dust on 
the plains below. The part of the Central Range 
which she first lost was the northern part, Samaria, 
which lies opener and less elevated, and is traversed 
by broad valleys ; the Mountain of Judcca was grasped 
firmly to the very end. 

On the eastern side of Jordan, the hill country of 
Gilead, rough and difficult, was held almost con- 
tinuously. But the Syrians drove the Hebrews out of 
the Hauran tableland, and they could only snatch at 
the tableland of Moab at intervals. Westward again 
the rolling country of the Shephelah was a perpetual 


debatable land between Israel and the Philistines; 
and the true plains belonged either to the Philistines 
or to whichever of the greater nations, Assyria or 
Egypt, had the stronger hand for the moment. 

We must never forget that, from the dawn to the 
close of his history, the Hebrew, by the very form of 
his land, was constrained to be a Highlander. He 
dwelt on a mountain-top, he was only safe when he 
held to his hills, he was shut off from all the luxury 
and wealth of the plains, and quickly degenerated 
when he came into touch with these things. He had 
the virtues that are bred by the mountain life, with 
its isolation and independence, its poetic spirit, and 
its swift intuitions of the Divine; but he had the 
failings of such a life in equal measure, narrowness, 
overweening pride, lack of sympathy for other forms 
of life and habits of thought. Much of the character 
of the race, both for good and evil, becomes more 
intelligible to us when we think of it, perched upon 
its mountain eyrie, looking down upon the rush and 
tumult of the nations, within sight of the kingdoms 
of the world and the glory of them, and yet shut off 
from these things alike by position and by Divine 



FOR our purpose Southern Palestine is practically 
Judaea. Jndaea, of course, is by no means all of it ; 
but the Maritime Plain, the South Country, and the 
Lower Jordan Valley are of importance to us simply 
because they were the borders and limits of Judaea, 
the non-conductors that insulated the land, the outlook 
of the Hebrew from his mountain-top. We have to 
do, then, chiefly with the narrow little strip of moun- 
tain moorland which so strangely became the sanctuary 
and stronghold of Divine revelation and the most 
important and sacred spot on earth. 

Judasa's part in the history of the Chosen People 
may be summed up in a single word Conservatism. 
She gave the conservative element in the national and 
religious life of the Hebrew race. Barren and un- 
attractive, less favoured by Nature, more out of the 
way than the region to the north of her, she came 
later to development than Samaria. The northern 
men were the men of originality and openness to new 
impressions, the innovators in respect both of good 
and evil. But, though Judaea was slow to reach out 
her hand, when she had once done so she grasped 
with an iron grip and held tenaciously to the last 
whatever her fingers had closed on too tenaciously 
it proved in the end. It was the man of Judaea who 


'I* 'fif I 




stood stubbornly for all the elements which have made 
the Hebrew a spiritual force in the world, indifference 
to alien and worldly influences, devotion to the great 
past, patriotism, not national only, but above all reli- 
gious, an iron courage, to which death, not merely for 
a principle, but for the smallest detail of the working 
out of a principle, seemed nothing. But it was the 
man of Judaea also who was the narrowest, the most 
provincial, the most prejudiced, the most routine- 
bound man on earth. And, when the great test came, 
these faults ruled him out. 

Galilee and Samaria met Christ with a welcome, 
frank and cheering, if also sometimes fickle ; Judaea 
met Him with stubborn opposition, scorn and relent- 
less hatred. Galilee, Tarsus, and the Isles gave Him 
His foremost followers ; Judaea's contribution in that 
respect was Judas Iscariot! Judaea gave our Lord 
His birthplace, the scenes of His Temptation and 
Agony, the site of His Cross, and His grave nothing 
more. She was the heir of all the spiritual traditions 
of her race ; and, when the supreme moment came, 
she failed most utterly to realize them all. "They that 
are first shall be last." 

Size of Judaea. If Palestine as a whole impresses 
you with its smallness, Judaea is tiny. Taking the 
country at its widest possible limits, i.e., including the 
Maritime Plain and the Wilderness of Judaea, its area 
was about 2000 square miles a little larger than 
Aberdeenshire, a little smaller than Northumberland. 
But the real Judaea of the Jews was a strip of mountain- 
to P; 55 miles long, from Bethel to Beersheba, and 
from 25 to 30 miles broad, with an area of 1350 square 
miles, rather less than that of Essex or Kent. Size, 



however, is a small factor in national influence. 
Within that narrow area there has been more history 
and heroism to the square mile than in any other 
area in the world. 

Isolation of the Land. The distinctive feature of 
the land is its isolation altogether extraordinary, and 
most significant. No other country in the world is 
cleft from its neighbours by anything in the least 
resembling the great gash which forms Judaea's eastern 
frontier. "You cannot live in Judaea/' says Principal 
G. A. Smith, without being daily aware of the awful 
deep which bounds it on the East the lower Jordan 
valley and Dead Sea. From Bethel, from Jerusalem, 
from Bethlehem, from Tekoa, from the heights above 
Hebron, and from fifty points between, you look down 
into that deep: and you feel Judaea rising from it 
about you almost as a sailor feels his narrow deck or 
a sentinel the sharp-edged platform of fc his high 
fortress." From the edge of the Judaean upland the 
levels sink, with almost precipitous swiftness, from 
over 2000 feet above sea-level to 1300 feet below. 
"The depth, the haggard desert through which the 
land sinks into it, the singularity of that gulf and its 
prisoned sea, and the high barrier beyond, conspire to 
produce on the inhabitants of Judaea a moral effect 
such as, I suppose, is created by no other frontier in 
the world." (G. A. Smith, " Hist. Geog." p. 262.) 

From this great gulf a few steep narrow and winding 
tracks lead up towards the hill country of Judaea. By 
the most northerly of these Joshua's men went up to 
their disastrous attempt upon Ai, and Dr. Kelman has 
remarked that when you have toiled painfully up this 
precipitous path for hours you come to understand 


feelingly the suggestion of the Israelite spies. "Let 
about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai ; 
and make not all the people to labour thither/' The 
pass next south of this, almost more difficult and fear- 
some, is forever sacred to us. For this was the regular 
pilgrim route to Jerusalem. By it, the Ascent of Blood, 
as it was called, the man of Christ's parable went down 
from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves, as 
he would be very liable to do on the same road even 
to-day ; and by it our Master toiled towards the Cross, 
when on that last great journey "he set his face 
steadfastly to go up to Jerusalem." 

In the valley below, the scene at the head of the 
Dead Sea is one of the most ntter and indescribable 
desolation, but a few miles farther north, at Jericho, the 
salt leprosy gives place to tropical vegetation. In that 
deep gulf, with the river steaming under the blazing 
sunshine, the year is one long summer, and plants grow 
as in a forcing-house. So Jericho was famed for her 
palms, her dates, and her balsam, but equally notorious 
for the feeble and enervated character of her people. 
Strength, either of body or of mind, cannot exist in 
that steaming hot-house. No great man ever came out 
of Jericho, and it has been remarked that the falling of 
her walls before the sound of Joshua's trumpets is just 
a parable of her whole history. She never stood a 


On the south the isolation of the land is almost 
equally marked. Apparently the gentle slope and the 
easy approaches by which the Judaean upland sinks 
down towards the south country, the Negeb, as it was 
called, meaning the Dry or Parched Land, render the 
access to the Central Range peculiarly simple on this 


side. But in reality there is interposed between the 
desert and the gentle slope which leads up to Judaea 
60 miles of rugged and mountainous country, barren 
and difficult, which form an effective barrier so effec- 
tive that practically no successful invasion ever took 
place from this quarter. The Israelites made the 
attempt and were repulsed, and none of their enemies 
used the southern approach to any purpose. 

Westwards the Central Range was fenced from the 
maritime plain by the rough hill country of the debat- 
able land, the Shephelah, easily defended against an 
invader, with its narrow passes and its ready cover for 
ambuscades. Only on the north, along the line of the 
range, was access really easy, and there, after the 
separation of the two kingdoms, intercourse was cut 
off by the most impassable of all barriers, the barrier 
of love changed to hate, for " the Jews have no dealings 
with the Samaritans." 

So, on his lofty watch-tower, 2500 feet above the 
blue waters of the Mediterranean that sparkled to the 
west, the Jew looked out upon a world from which his 
God had separated him. It was a strange position. 
He was perpetually close to that great, throbbing, 
striving, godless world ; its movements were spread 
like a panorama under his eyes ; like the greatest son 
of the race he could see from his mountain "all the 
kingdoms of the world and the glory of them " glittering 
past in the plain below ; and yet he was held aloof 
from all that. Call it the accident of his position, or 
call it the providence of God, the fact remains that the 
Hebrew, till his own madness broke the bonds that 
God decreed to bind, stood aside from the current of 
world history, a spectator, placed where, if he would, 


1. Mlokh <>|- 'NIK l>l. Mt >K\ ( /. K;) 

2, SITK OK HKTHKL ( //. 22 u^ 26) 


he might learn all the lessons of the struggle of the 
nations without being drawn into its vortex. 

For the great war-path of the ancient world passed, 
so to speak, between the Jew's doorstep and the sea. 
Probably there has never been a stretch of ground 
trodden by the armies of so many nations, or soaked 
with so much blood, as the narrow strip which lies 
between the mountain of Judaea and the Mediter- 
ranean. The hosts of practically every great conquer- 
ing race of the Old World have surged up and down it 
to victory or defeat, and from Tahutmes of Egypt 
to Napoleon countless great captains have proved 
themselves there. Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, 
Babylonians, they all came and went, and from their 
hills the Jews could watch all the pomp and terror of 
ancient warfare, with its gorgeous pageant and its 
merciless cruelty. And unless they were mad enough 
to provoke attack, not one of the passing armies would 
trouble itself to meddle with the barren and difficult 
highlands to the east. 

God isolated the Hebrew on his mountain to keep 
him safe till his work was done, and but for his own 
folly the safety might well enough have remained un- 
broken. Constantly you find the prophets insisting 
upon this point, warning king after king that Judah 
had no call, as she had no resources, to be a great war- 
like power and to mix herself in the welter beneath, 
that her true role was to sit still and work out her own 
problem of how best to serve God with merciful and 
humble life, and leave the nations to their strife and 
fret. " Asshur shall not save us ; we will not ride upon 
horses." " Woe unto them that go down to Egypt for 
help, and stay on horses, and trust in chariots." " In 


returning and rest shall ye be saved ; in quietness and 
in confidence shall be your strength." 

The most distinctive part of Judaea is the plateau 
stretching from Bethel along the line of the Central 
Range to a little south of Hebron, with a length of 
about 35 miles, and an average breadth of from 
14 to 17 miles. Its characteristics, as seen by 
modern travellers, are sufficiently uninviting. Canon 
Tristram writes of it: "Nothing could surpass the 
mountain range in repulsive desolation. Rocks there 
were, great and small stones, loose and sharp, but no 
other existing thing. It is neither grand, desolate, nor 
wild, but utter barrenness." No doubt in earlier times, 
before centuries of war had devastated it, and the blight 
of Turkish misrule had settled on the land, there was 
more cultivation and fertility. The remains of terracing 
show that the vine was once cultivated, and here and 
there as at Bethany, Bethlehem, and Hebron there 
are valleys with olive-trees, figs, and vines. But, on 
the whole, Judaea can never have been greatly different 
from what it now is. "Judaea," says an American 
writer, " has its characteristics ; its general impression 
is that of a featureless succession of grey, stony moor- 
land, through whose scant herbage protrude patches 
of bare white limestone, blistered by the blazing sun 
in a waterless land ; shadeless slopes on which lie flat- 
roofed villages, beneath which a few vines, olive- and 
fig-trees struggle for existence ; wadies that are the dry 
beds of winter torrents ; a mountain fastness secure 
from its isolation ; a people to whose very doors came 
the solitude of the desert, before whose eyes lay a 
howling waste/' (Townsend MacCoun, "The Holy 
Lnnd," p. 36.) 


This desolation is caused and perpetuated by the fact 
that the plateau is practically waterless. Even on the 
barest Scottish moor you would not go far without 
catching the tinkle of running water, and coming across 
some little spring welling up amidst moss and fern ; 
but you look in vain for such things in Judaea. The 
remedy was the excavation of great tanks in which the 
surface-water of the rainfalls might be stored. The 
Bible story reflects this along with other features of 
the land. It was inta one of these cisterns that the 
jealous sons of Jacob lowered Joseph, and one of them 
that had proved an impromptu lion-trap when Benaiah 
the son of Jehoiada, " went down and slew a lion in a 
cistern in time of snow." i Where else than in Pales- 
tine could lions and snow thus come together ? " To- 
day, as thirty centuries ago, " at noon the cattle go 
down by dusty paths to some shadowless gorge, where 
the glare is only broken by the black mouth of a cistern 
with troughs round it." " Living water " i.e. 9 a genuine 
spring from the rock was the greatest treasure obtain- 
able. " Give me a blessing/ 1 says Achsah to her father 
Caleb, "for thou hast given me a south land ; give me 
also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper 
springs and the nether springs " (Judges i. 15). When 
God taxes His people with faithlessness, He finds His 
illustration of the folly of men in the contrast between 
the perennial spring and the often-dry cistern. " They 
have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and 
hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold 
no water." There are large artificial pools at Gibeon, 
Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron, and besides only a 
few small rills full only in springtime. 

Consequently Judaea never was an agricultural 


country. From the dawn of history she was a pastoral 
land, and the figure of the shepherd with his flock 
moves across every page of her story. The Patriarchs 
are flock-masters. David, the greatest of her kings, and 
Amos, the first of her writing prophets, are both taken 
from the sheepfolds and from following the flock. 
The figure that springs at once to the Jewish mind to 
express all the best aspect of human rule and the 
eternal guardian care of the Almighty is that of the 
shepherd. The king is the shepherd of his people, 
and Jehovah, the King of kings, is a greater and more 
faithful shepherd. " In such a landscape as Judaea/ 1 
says Principal G. A. Smith, " where a day's pasture is 
thinly scattered over an unfenced tract of country, 
covered with delusive paths, still frequented by wild 
beasts, and rolling off into the desert, the man and his 
character are indispensable. On some high moor, 
across which at night the hyaenas howl, when you 
meet him, sleepless, far-sighted, weather-beaten, armed, 
leaning on his staff, and looking out over his scattered 
sheep, every one of them on his heart, you understand 
why the shepherd of Judaea sprang to the front in his 
people's history; why they gave his name to their 
King, and made him the symbol of Providence ; why 
Christ took him as the type of self-sacrifice." (" Hist. 
Geog. v pp. 311-312.) 

The 23rd Psalm is simply the picture of a day in the 
life of a Judaean shepherd. And Dr. Kelman has told 
us how a shepherd near Hebron, when asked how he 
closed at night the opening which lets the sheep into 
the circular stone fold, answered quite simply, " I am 
the Door/' meaning that he wrapped himself in his 
cloak and lay all night across the entrance. What 


better comment could be had upon our Saviour's 
words ? "Sometimes," says a modern traveller, "we 
enjoyed our noon-day rest beside one of these Judsean 
wells, to which three or four shepherds came down 
with their flocks. The flocks mixed with each other, 
and we wondered how each shepherd would get his 
own again. But after the watering and the playing 
were over, the shepherds one by one went up different 
sides of the valley, and each called out his own peculiar 
call ; and the sheep of each drew out of the crowd to 
their own shepherd, and the flocks passed away as 
orderly as they came. 'When he putteth forth his own 
sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, 
for they know his voice, and a stranger will they not 
follow. I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, 
and am known of mine.' These words our Lord spake 
in Judaea." 

The other outstanding characteristic of Judaea is 
her absolute unfitness to be the site of a great city. 
Nineveh and Babylon, Thebes and Memphis, were 
obviously designed by nature for what they became, 
great capitals and trading centres. But nature made 
no such provision in the case of Judaea. Her waterless 
moorland almost absolutely disqualified her from hold- 
ing any great gathering of men ; and, besides, all the 
great trade routes passed her by on either hand, 
choosing easier and more direct lines to their end. So 
we find that the townships of Judaea were all either 
fortresses or shrines, or else mere country villages. 
The fortresses lay mostly on the borders, and chiefly, 
as one would expect, on the west and north. The 
Jordan Gorge and the Southern Desert were evidently 
helcl to be sufficient protection on the east and south ; 


but the fortresses look to the Maritime Plain, whence 
the armies of the nations would come up, or else 
stand sentry on the northern upland between Judaea 
and her jealous sister Samaria. Even so, as Dr. Kelman 
has pointed out, the Jews seem to have had an absolute 
genius for fortifying the wrong places and neglecting 
the real key sites. 

Apart from these strongholds, the towns of Judaea 
lie in a line along the ridge of the Central Range. A 
road ran along the centre of the Plateau, and all the 
places of importance are found upon it. Of these, 
Beersheba, Hebron, and Bethel all owed their im- 
portance to the fact that they were early sanctuaries 
places where heathen gods were worshipped long 
before the Hebrew came into the land. Bethlehem, 
destined to be more sacred than any of them, was no 
sanctuary ; but, as its name, " House of Bread," 
implies, it lay in one of the few fertile regions of the 
land, with water not far away. 

But not even Bethlehem, though it is the finest site 
in Judaea, could ever have been the site for a city of 
any size. In fact, "Judaea has no harbours, no river, 
no great trunk road, no convenient market for the 
nations on either side of her. The whole plateau 
stands aloof, waterless, on the road to nowhere. There 
are none of the natural conditions of a great city. And 
yet it was here that She arose, who, more than Athens, 
and more than Rome, taught the nations civic justice, 
and gave her name to the ideal city men are ever 
striving to build on earth, to the City of God that 
shall one day descend from Heaven the New Jerusa- 
lem ! For her builder was not nature, nor the wisdom 
of men, but on that secluded and barren site, the Word 


of God, by her prophets, laid her eternal foundations 
in righteousness, and reared her walls in her people's 
faith in God: 9 (G. A. Smith, " Hist. Geog." pp. 319- 

It is impossible to leave the subject of Judaea without 
referring to Jerusalem ; yet adequate reference is im- 
possible, because there is so much to say. There is no 
place in all the world to which the hearts of so many 
have turned with passionate longing, not, in most 
cases, for love of the town itself, but for love of the 
Gift of gifts which was there given to humanity. To 
the Jew, of course, it is and always has been the town 
itself that is beloved. " If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, 
let my right hand forget its cunning." But to the 
Christian it is not the town itself that is the object of 
interest, but the town as the stage on which David, 
Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so many other men of 
God played their parts where, above all, Jesus Christ 
laid down His life for men. To us Jerusalem is in 
itself nothing but the type of wilful blindness and 
hardness of heart : " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that 
killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent 
unto thee." And yet, in spite of everything, we cannot 
help ourselves ; the little old grey city draws the hearts 
of men from all quarters of the world with an extra- 
ordinary and undying fascination. 

That fascination is evidenced, crudely enough, by 
the fact that there are now two Jerusalems. Outside 
the walls there has grown up to the west " a new 
Levantine city " side by side with the ancient Oriental 
one. The new city is actually larger than Jerusalem 
itself, and is scarcely to be distinguished, with its rows 
of shops and its railway station, from an ordinary 


European town, save for the medley of nationalities 
with which it is peopled, Russian colonies, French 
colonies, German, English, American, Syrian colonies, 
with sprinklings from almost every other nation under 
Heaven. These make up the new Jerusalem which the 
twentieth century has realized somewhat different 
from the City of God of the Apostle's vision. 

But the real Jerusalem lies within the mediaeval 
Mohammedan walls which have succeeded the great 
defences that crumbled before the battering-rams of 
Titus. The city lies high-perched on the summits 
of two spurs of the Judaean range. East of the city, 
an outlier of the range sweeps round to the south, 
forming the Mount of Olives, with a greatest elevation 
of 2682 feet. Olivet slopes down to the Valley of the 
Kedron, or Valley of Jehoshaphat. Thence the ground 
rises again in the eastern of the two spurs on which 
the city is built. This, which embraces the quarters 
known popularly as Bezetha and Moriah, has a height 
varying from 2520 to 2432 feet. The Haram-esh- 
Sherif, the sacred enclosure, containing the Dome of 
the Rock (wrongly known as the Mosque of Omar) 
and the Mosque el Aksa, lies on the southern part of 
this hill, where once the Temple stood. The east 
hill is separated from its western neighbour by the 
Tyropseon valley, shallow now, but much deeper 
before the debris of many sieges had been tumbled 
into it. Beyond this rises the west hill, 2482 feet in 
height at its northern end, the so-called Akra, 2516 feet 
at the southern point, the traditional Mount Zion. 
Many modern authorities, however, of whom Principal 
G. A. Smith may be taken as representative, refuse to 
accept the traditional topography, and assert that 


1. I'.K'IHANY FROM '1'HF KAST (/. 22) 


Note the stun)' soil and outcrops of rock 


Mount Zion was not situated on the south-west hill, 
but was identical with the Temple Mount on the east 
hill, and that the City of David lay also on the east hill, 
to the south of, and on a lower level from, the Temple 
area. On the east and south the Valley of Hinnom or 
Gehenna, as on the west the Valley of the Kedron, 
separates the two hills of the city from the rest of the 
Judaean range. 

Thus Jerusalem is a mountain fortress. When we 
read, " As the mountains are round about Jerusalem," 
we are apt to think of the town as girdled by a circle 
of dominating hills. Actually it is not so. The town 
is practically as high as any of the hills around. The 
Mount of Olives, for instance, is not much more than 
200 feet higher than the Temple Mount. The moun- 
tains are round about Jerusalem certainly, but not to 
command or overlook it. The city is on a mountain 
among mountains, and is only separated from its 
girdling heights by the shallow valleys which surround 
it on three sides. 

What other city has had such a record as this one ? 
It begins, when no one can quite tell, but away far 
back in the dawn of history, as a mountain stronghold 
with a little ring of subject territory around it. In the 
Berlin Museum there are lying to-day eight letters, 
dating from about 1400 B.C., and forming a part of the 
famous Tell-el-Amarna correspondence. They were 
written to the then Pharaoh of Egypt, Amenhotep IV. 
(Akhenaten) by Abd-Khiba, King of Jerusalem, a vassal 
of Egypt, and they tell of the approach of his enemies, 
and crave for help, which never came, from his 
Egyptian overlord. Centuries before even that date 
we know that it was a settled city, with a king of its 


own ; for it was Melchizedek, King of Salem, who met 
Abraham after his victory over Chedorlaomer and his 
allied kings. Then comes a long gap in the story until 
in the time of David Jerusalem appears as the Jebusite 
stronghold whose conquest enables the king to draw 
together the northern and southern elements of his 
kingdom, and to give them a common holy place in 
his new capital. 

Then follows the wonderful succession of glory and 
disaster. Solomon the Magnificent piles up on the 
summit of the East Hill, above the lower-lying tongue 
of the hill where the Jebusite's hold had been, that 
wonderful complex of buildings, beginning at the 
southern point of the summit with the House of the 
Forest of Lebanon, and culminating in the Temple, 
30 feet higher, whose splendours excited the wonder 
of the Queen of Sheba. Not for long are the glories 
of the Temple Mount left undimmed. Rehoboam's 
reign brings the invasion of the Libyan Pharaoh of 
Egypt, Shishak or Sheshenq ; and the Temple is 
stripped of its splendour to furnish a ransom for the 
land. Again, in Asa's reign, the sacred treasury is 
ransacked to purchase the assistance of Ben-hadad of 
Damascus against Baasha and the northern Kingdom. 
Amaziah's reign sees a still bitterer humiliation put 
upon the Holy City, when, after the disastrous defeat 
of Beth-Shemesh, the victorious Joash of Israel " brake 
down four hundred cubits of the wall from the gate of 
Ephraim to the corner-gate," and plundered the 
Temple and the Palace. 

In spite of disaster and humiliation, the city steadily 
grows in extent and strength, and the Jerusalem of 
Hezekiah's time, re-fortified by Uzziah, presents a more 


formidable aspect than ever. The army of Assyria rolls 
up to her walls, halts around them, and then ebbs back 
again, appalled at the news of the disaster that has 
overwhelmed its main body on the Egyptian frontier. 
And then, rather less than a century after this crowning 
mercy, comes the crowning disaster, and Nebuchad- 
rezzar of Babylon utterly destroys the old city and the 
Temple, sacred now for more than three hundred years. 
The place lies desolate, till after many years Ezra and 
Nehemiah, with their band of returning exiles, rebuild, 
as best they can, the Temple and the City. 

The next intruders are of Grecian blood, Alexander's 
successors, and we have the heroic struggle of Judas 
Maccabaeus and his brethren, and the brief restoration 
of the kingdom. Then the giant figure of Rome casts 
its shadow across the scene, and Cnaeus Pompeius, 
whom we call Pompey, marches into the town at the 
head of his army, enters the Holy of Holies, and 
departs, marvelling to see a temple whose most holy 
place contains no image of a god. His figure is 
succeeded by that of the crafty Edomite, Herod the 
Great, under whose hands there rises, during forty-six 
years, that marvellous building on which our Saviour 
gazed, not with pride in its glory, but with sorrow that 
His Father's House should have been made a den of 
thieves. The Prince of Peace looks from the Mount of 
Olives upon the beautiful city, and weeps at the 
thought of how her perversity is bringing upon her 
the inevitable doom. 

A few years later his place is taken by no Prince of 
Peace, but by a Prince of War, and Titus, at the head 
of the Roman legions, weeps too as he looks from 
Mount Scopus, and thinks that he must needs destroy 


so much beauty. Down through the Middle Ages, 
the constant procession and strife go on. Moham- 
medans and Crusaders come and go Godfrey, the 
brave and good, King of the Christian Kingdom of 
Jerusalem, yet refusing to be crowned, because he 
would not wear a crown of gold where his master 
had worn a crown of thorns. Saladin, the gallant and 
knightly Moslem a better man in his heathenism than 
his enemies in their Christianity our own Richard, 
weeping too on the distant hill-top from which he 
saw the city, because God had not counted him worthy 
to deliver it. And now the long roll closes, meantime, 
with the advent of Kaiser Wilhelm and the Cook's 
Tourist. Nowhere else on the world's surface have so 
much history and heroism, so much greatness and 
so much shame been gathered as within these grey 

Yet we must remember that what the traveller now 
looks upon is not the city of those great days of old. 
Here and there there may still be exposed fragments 
of the masonry which excited the wonder of the 
disciples, and the mournful forebodings of their master ; 
but the real Jerusalem of ancient days lies buried. 
The present city is built upon its ruins, and for the 
streets which our Saviour trod, and the buildings on 
which he looked, you must dig many feet below the 
present surface. Only outside the walls can you be sure 
that you are on ground which may have been trodden 
by Christ's feet; and even the Mount of Olives is 
profaned by a crowd of pretentious modern buildings. 

It is scarcely likely that excavation will ever do for 
Jerusalem what it has been able to do for unoccupied 
sites such as Pompeii or Knossos, and give us back 



the actual outlines of the town which Solomon made 
glorious, and which Our Lord consecrated forever 
with His blood. Hampered as it has been it has still 
given us some things which help us to realize some of 
the conditions of the ancient city. Most interesting 
perhaps, of the discoveries that have been made is the 
Siloam inscription, with its plain story of the accom- 
plishment of the plan formed by Hezekiah for bringing 
the water-supply of the fountain of Gihon within the 
walls. This was evidently regarded by the Biblical 
historian as no mean item among Hezekiah's titles to 
fame. "And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all 
his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit, 
and brought water into the city, are they not written 
in the book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah ? " 
(II Kings xx. 20.) 

The book of the Chronicles itself shows us that the 
work was done in anticipation of a siege by Senna- 
cherib's army, and that the fountain in question lay 
without the walls, so that its natural opening had to 
be sealed, and the water led within. " So there was 
gathered much people together, who stopped all the 
fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst 
of the land, saying, why should the kings of Assyria 
come, and find much water ? > (II Chron. xxxii. 4.) 

"This same Hezekiah also sealed the issue of the 
waters of Gihon the upper, and directed them down 
westwards to the City of David." (II Chron. xxxii. 


The tunnel which diverted the waters of Gihon and 
brought them within the city walls measures some- 
what over 1700 feet in length, with a diameter varying 
from over n feet to under two. Its windings, and 


the fact that at more than one point the engineers 
found that they were working on a false line, and had 
to abandon their drift and work in a new direction, 
do not hinder us from wondering at the skill which 
accomplished so creditable a piece of engineering 
without compass or level, 

In the year 1880 an inscription was found in the 
tunnel itself, which gives us the story of the excava- 
tion. It is written in Hebrew, but unfortunately 
makes no mention of any king's name. The narrative 
runs as follows : " . . . the boring. And this was the 
matter of the boring : when yet the hewers were 
lifting the pick, each towards his fellow, and when yet 
there were three cubits to be bored, heard was the 
voice of each calling to his fellow ; for there was a 
fissure even from south to north. And on the day of 
the boring, the hewers struck, each to meet his fellow, 
pick against pick ; then went the waters from the issue 
to the pool for two hundred and a thousand cubits, 
and a hundred cubits was the height of the rock above 
the head of the hewers." Thus we see that the 
engineers began their work from both ends of the 
tunnel, just as in present-day practice, and that they 
were saved from passing one another by the fact that a 
fissure in the rock, running in the direction of their 
workings, carried the sound of the voices of the two 
parties to one another. 

Apart from any other importance which it has, the 
inscription helps us to realize more vividly the great 
disadvantage under which the city always laboured on 
account of its almost waterless site, and to understand 
with what real desire the Psalmist looked for the river 
whose streams should make glad the City of God. 


But none of the pathetic remains of her former 
glories can help us so well to realize the ancient city of 
Jerusalem as the pictures given of her by the men who 
took pleasure in her stones, and to whom her very dust 
was dear, Psalmists and Prophets above all Isaiah 
and Jeremiah. They show us the high white city, 
sitting gallant and fair upon her hill-tops the houses 
crowding close together as the steep hill-side rises, 
so that the streets are scarcely visible, and the popu- 
lation in times of excitement must " altogether go up 
to its house-tops." "Jerusalem is builded as a city 
that is compact together." They give us glimpses of 
the city's architecture and engineering, of her sur- 
rounding hills and villages, the " wadies between the 
precipices," and "the clefts of the rocks/' the busy, 
noisy, frivolous life of the townsfolk. The whole 
panorama of life in the Holy City of Judaism passes 
before our eyes. 

The New Testament gives us no such vivid picture 
of the Jerusalem of our Saviour's times only the 
impression of the sharp-cut contrast between her 
outward splendour and her inward foulness. Yet we 
have one touch unmatched for poignant pathos, 
summing up all the tragedy of the city's history. 
" And when he was come near, he beheld the city and 
wept over it, saying, ' If thou hadst known, even thou, 
at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto 
thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes/ " 
(St. Luke xix. 41, 42.) 

Of the identification of, and the present day traffic 
in, the Holy Places of Jerusalem, it is scarcely possible 
to speak with too little respect* Better, if men are to 
make idols of the mere stones that may or may not 


have witnessed our Lord's sufferings, that the true 
scenes of Christ's Passion should remain for ever 
unknown. The desire for the actual sight of such 
places is perfectly natural ; yet we may remember that 
He who suffered there is the same who said: "The 
hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, 
nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, . . . but the 
true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit 
and in truth : for the Father seeketh such to worship 


1. MOSQUE OF OMAR (p. 2 

Dome of the Rock 

2. MOSQUE EL AKSA (p. 28) 


FROM Judaea, we turn to her sister and rival, Samaria. 
Both countries are parts of the same Central Range ; yet 
they are as different as possible from one another. J udaea 
dark, austere, and frowning, isolated from all inter- 
course with surrounding nations ; Samaria, open and 
smiling, stretching out inviting arms to every influence 
around her. So we find that, to the writers of the Old 
Testament, Samaria is always the elder sister, nearer to 
the world, first alike in good and in evil. We are apt 
to think Judaea the greater and the more important 
kingdom. Finally she has proved so, mainly because 
of her steady and tenacious conservatism. But, during 
the existence of the two kingdoms, it was not so. 
Samaria was far more in the world's eye, far richer, 
more highly cultivated, more commercial and more 
warlike than Judaea, sitting in her frowning isolation 
to the south. 

On the other hand, Samaria had not the staying 
power which her sister had. She was always first in 
the field with everything ; but in the end of the day it 
was always found that she had let slip her advantage. 
Thus when the patriarchs came into Palestine, they 
chose their first settlements at Shechem in Samaria, 
but settled finally at Hebron in Judaea. The earliest 
places of worship, and the earliest rise of patriotism in 
the time of the Judges were in Samaria ; but Church 



and State finally centred in Jerusalem. Prophecy 
began in Samaria ; but reached its glory in Judaea. 
All through their history it was the same. Samaria 
was the first to begin and the first to leave off, easily 
roused and easily wearied, open to good influences, 
but as open to bad ones, ready to receive the treasures 
of the outside world, but as ready to receive its 

Like her sister, Samaria is a mountain land; but 
with a difference. Judaea is mountain-land largely 
barren, and almost inaccessible. The passes that lead 
up to the Central Range within her borders are 
narrow, winding, and difficult. But Samaria is 
mountain-land lying open and diversified with broad 
and fertile valleys, which not only lie among the 
hills, but stretch down in all directions to the sur- 
rounding lands. From the Plain of Esdraelon on the 
north there is a succession of plains running south 
through the heart of the mountains, almost to the 
southern border of the kingdom ; and these plains are 
all reached by broad and easy passes of gentle slope. 
These are " the outgoings of Mount Ephraim," men- 
tioned as early as the time of Joshua, and they helped 
largely to determine the history of the country. 

This openness of the land led to two things. The 
first was Samaria's incapacity to resist invasion. When 
the Israelites came into the land, this northern part 
apparently fell almost without a struggle into their 
hands. But if it was easily won it was difficult to 
keep. Other invaders found the approaches just as 
easy as Israel had done. Think of the great scenes 
of warfare against invading hosts which make the 
historical parts of the Bible such picturesque reading, 


and you see that they are nearly all laid in Samaria. 
In the time of the Judges, the Canaanites under Sisera 
had swept the whole land so that the only place 
where a court of justice could be held was in the 
extreme south-east, near Bethel, where Deborah the 
Prophetess sat under a palm-tree and judged Israel. 
In Gideon's days the Midianites or Arabs had ter- 
rorized the country, so that at Ophrah, almost as far 
south, men did not dare to use the open threshing- 
floors on the hill-tops for fear of attracting the attention 
of the marauders. In the time of Elisha the Syrians 
again and again sweep westwards over the land, and 
are only checked by the walls of the capital. Then, 
when a more powerful enemy appears upon the scene, 
even the fortifications of the capital are found in- 
sufficient; and Samaria itself falls to Sargon the 
Assyrian after a long siege. 

Later, the Roman legions under Vespasian swept 
over the whole country within a week ; and Titus 
found that his easiest road to Jerusalem was from the 
north through Samaria, and not by the direct way 
from the coast. In fact the invasion of Judaea and the 
invasion of Samaria were two very different things 
the former, a wild business of desperate fighting in 
the narrow passes of the Shephelah and the mountain 
of Judaea the latter a perfectly simple and easy thing 
until the invader was brought up by the walls of the 
great central fortresses. 

Some of the most picturesque incidents in Old 
Testament history are associated with the chariot and 
its use. Ahab's wild drive and race against the storm 
from Carmel to Jezreel ; the mournful return of the 
same king from Ramoth-Gilead the dead body 


huddled up in the narrow chariot all smeared and 
dabbled with life-blood. The furious race of Jehu 
over the same road to Jezreel ; and then that terrible 
chase of poor Ahaziah, tangled in the toils of the 
northern kingdom's politics, until at last the Jewish 
king's horses slackened speed on " the ascent of Gur 
by the way of the garden-house/' and the pursuer, 
steadying himself for a moment in the rocking chariot, 
got the deadly arrow home. Naaman's long drive 
from Damascus across the Hauran and over the Jordan 
and up the Vale of Jezreel to Elisha's house in Samaria. 
Every one of these belongs to Northern Israel, with its 
wider valleys and easier gradients. The chariot is 
scarcely mentioned in connexion with Judaea. 

But this same openness, which made invasion so 
easy, made it easy also for even more dangerous things 
than the Syrian chariots to sweep up into the heart of 
the land. Judaea offered almost as little attraction to an 
outside faith as to an outside invader, but Samaria was 
always ready to receive and to favour anything that 
was new. She lay open morally and mentally as well 
as physically, and the paganism of the surrounding 
countries poured itself through her smiling valleys, 
bringing with it all the sins of the paganism of the 
times, cruelty, luxury, licentiousness, extravagance. 

The picture of Samaria's complete surrender in 
Ahab's time to the luxurious and immoral religion of 
the Phoenician Baal is just a type. The whole land is 
given over to the new worship. Elijah believes him- 
self to be the one faithful servant of Jehovah left, and 
though God teaches him differently, the fact that in all 
Northern Israel there were only 7000 true to their old 
faith shows how complete the apostasy had been, And 


from first to last the prophets complain against her in 
the one tone. Her civilization has come too soon to a 
head, and has gone rotten at the heart. It has all the 
marks of such a state of things. From Amos onwards 
the prophets charge her exactly with the sins of a too 
hastily ripened and prematurely decadent civilization- 
drunkenness, feeble and costly attempts at an exotic 
art, servile imitation of foreigners, thoughtlessness and 

In one vivid picture (xxviii. 3-4) Isaiah has summed up 
the whole story of Samaria's precocious growth, and 
the destruction which it entailed at last. " The crown 
of the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim is trodden 
underfoot, and the fading flower of his glorious beauty, 
which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as the 
first ripe fig before the summer, which, when he that 
hath caught sight of it seeth it, while it is yet in his 
hand he eateth it up." It is not to every land or 
people that the Open Door is an advantage. For 
Samaria it meant that her fruit ripened, and was 
devoured or rotted before ever her true summer had 

After the Assyrians had destroyed the northern 
kingdom Samaria was never again peopled by a truly 
Hebrew race. The conquerors, according to their 
custom, swept away all the best of the people to 
Assyria, and thus the ten tribes got indistinguishably 
mixed with other races, never more to appear as a 
people in history. Samaria was true to the last to her 
original character. Her tribes merged with the other 
races of the land whither they were carried captive, 
easy to be influenced, easy to be moulded then as 
always. Judah kept her nationality distinct and 


unbroken even in Babylonia, as she has kept it ever 

The place of the exiles was supplied by a mongrel 
race, whom the Assyrians drafted in from various 
conquered lands. They learned something of the 
Hebrew religion in a very curious manner (II Kings 
xvii. 24-41). Later they became anxious to have a 
share, along with the returning exiles, in the building 
of the Temple, and were refused. (Ezra iv. 1-5.) 
Henceforward they hated the Jews with a bitter 
hatred, which was returned with interest. "The Jews 
have no dealings with the Samaritans." Yet it was 
among this bastard race, devoid of any real title to the 
name of Children of Abraham, that Jesus once and 
again found His readiest welcome, and to them that 
He turned for His illustrations of some of the finest 
virtues. The Parable of the Good Samaritan, the 
return of the Samaritan leper, and the words spoken 
to a Samaritan woman by the well of Jacob, will keep 
Samaria and its people always fresh in the hearts of 
Christians. It was from this open and facile land, 
whose openness had been her ruin, that the supreme 
representative of the faith of Israel spoke at last the 
words which gave the charter of universal worship. 
" Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when neither 
in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem shall men 
worship the Father . . . but the true worshippers 
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth ; for the 
Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is Spirit ; 
and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and 
in truth." 

Northwards, Samaria sinks down by broad and gentle 
descents into the great plain which divides her from 


Galilee the Plain of Esdraelon. The largest expanse 
of level ground in Palestine, well-watered far more so 
than any other part of the land eminently fertile, if 
properly cultivated, it is yet for none of these things 
that it has been famed. Some spots of the world seem 
almost to have been designed by Nature to be the theatre 
of great historic struggles ; and of all these Esdraelon 
has been the chief. The Maritime Plain of Palestine 
was, as we have seen, the war-road of the nations. The 
great Powers of the ancient world, Asiatic and African, 
could only get at one another across this narrow bridge ; 
but the bridge was barred at its northern end by the 
great mountain-ridge of Carmel, thrusting itself across 
till it sets its feet in the waters of the Mediterranean. 
So the marching armies had to turn east and seek a 
passage easier of access. 

They found it in the pass which leads up from the 
Plain of Sharon through the skirts of the Samaritan 
Mountain, and emerges at Megiddo, on the Plain of 
Esdraelon. Once there, they were on a broad flat field 
with mountains all around the very cock-pit for a 
great fight. So almost every foot of Esdraelon has been 
soaked with human blood, and just at Megiddo, where 
the pass emerges on the plain, the battles have been 
most frequent and fierce. Here, long before the 
Hebrews entered the land, came Tahutmes III, the 
great Egyptian soldier, and scattered like chaff the 
Syrian league opposed to him by the mere dash and 
fury of his onset. A while later, and the scene changes. 
A little Israelite army commanded, for the first and 
last time in Israel's history, by a woman, Deborah the 
Prophetess, and, under her, by Barak (the Lightning) 
stands on the slope of Mount Tabor on the northern 


side of the plain, looking right across to Megiddo. From 
the western end of the plain the long line of Canaanite 
chariots under Sisera begins to emerge, and to defile 
across the front of the Israelite position. Then the 
storm breaks on the hillsides around ; under the tor- 
rents of rain the Kishon comes down in spate, over- 
flowing its banks, and Esdraelon becomes a quagmire 
through which the chariots painfully labour. Barak 
chooses the favourable moment, and his light-footed 
highlanders rush down behind him on the flank of the 
toiling Canaanites, and the invaders are swept away in 
hopeless rout. 

A little later we find another great invading army 
camped in Esdraelon. This time it is wandering 
Arabs who have come up from the Eastern desert 
across Jordan Midianites, the Israelites called them. 
Gideon has gathered 32,000 men to meet them ; but 
when the usual proclamation is made, '* Whoso is fearful 
or faint-hearted, let him go home," 22,000 find the 
sight of the Arab host too much for them, and turn 
shame-facedly homewards, so that the well by the camp 
is named ever afterwards " The Well of Harod " (" the 
Well of Trembling "). Then comes the strange choice 
among the 10,000 remaining, and the stratagem by 
which the 300 torch-bearers are made to seem to the 
bewildered Arabs the guides of a great host ; and the 
wild rout pours down the eastern end of the valley by 
Bethshan to the fords of the Jordan. 

The next scene in Esdraelon is one of disaster to 
Israel. The Philistines, unusually far north for them, 
have turned the north of the Israelite position, and are 
lying encamped at Shunem in Esdraelon, meaning 
apparently to march on the Jordan valley from the 



Juckcan Invasion, time of Rehoboam 


north, conquer it, and so confine the Israelites to their 
hills. Saul, no longer the man he once was, but broken 
and despairing, has gathered his army, and sits on the 
slopes of Mount Gilboa, on the southern side of the 
plain, exactly where Gideon's army was encamped. 
The Philistines cannot afford to leave him on their 
flank, and it is manifest that there must be a battle. 
The night before, the King steals away to Endor, right 
across the front of the Philistine position, and comes 
back, weary and depressed, with the assurance of 
defeat and death. Next day the Philistines attack 
Saul in his superior position, apparently outflanking 
him by going round by Jezreel. The Israelites are 
steadily pressed backwards up the slopes ; and at last 
the King himself falls, and the Israelite host scatters in 

Once again a Pharaoh of Egypt Pharaoh Necho, 
the same whose fleet doubled the Cape of Good Hope, 
and circumnavigated Africa, leads a great army through 
the Pass of Megiddo on his way to the Euphrates, to 
challenge the decaying power of Assyria. Josiah, in 
alliance with Assyria, deems it due to his honour to 
resist the Egyptian advance. Necho, with a most 
unusual and creditable forbearance, advises him to 
withdraw, and leave well alone ; but Josiah will not be 
warned, and in the battle the little Jewish army is 
brushed aside, and Josiah mortally wounded. 

Then come the Moslems. The great army of the 
Byzantine Empire, beaten on the Yarmuk, falls back 
to Bethshan, and there meets a second overthrow, 
which settles the fate of Western Palestine, Again an 
army bearing the banner of the Cross musters near 
Bethshan, and Saladin, the victor of Hattin, breaks the 


last line of the Crusaders, and captures the northern 
Crusading castles one by one through the hot summer, 
till there is only one that still holds out the great 
fortress of the Hospitallers on the heights above Beth- 
shan Belvoir, or, as the Arabs far more picturesquely 
call it, " Star of the Wind," from its lights shining out 
so high on the windy height. For eighteen months 
the Red Cross still flies there; then at last it comes 
fluttering down, and the Crescent floats supreme. 

Finally, Napoleon, on his way to his first real check 
at Acre, where, as he said, Sir Sidney Smith "made 
him miss his destiny," hesitates between the coast path 
round the headland of Carrnel and the Pass of Megiddo, 
finds the old war-road the only possible one, and leads 
his army through, brushing away a host of Samaritans 
from Shechem which attacked him in the mouth of the 

These are only a few of the scenes of war that 
Esdraelon and Megiddo have witnessed. Little wonder 
that when the Apostle foresaw the great day of battle 
of God Almighty, he placed the scene of conflict in the 
old spot at the mouth of the pass where so many 
mighty men had fought and fallen. " Then go forth 
the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather 
them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty 
. . . and He gathered them together unto a place 
called in the Hebrew tongue ' Har-megeddon. 1 " 
(Revelation xvi. 14-16.) 

North of Esdraelon lies Galilee save for Jerusalem 
the most hallowed spot on earth the scene of that 
bright, hopeful, open-air early ministry of our Lord, 
which is so strongly contrasted with the strife and 
hatred of the Judaean ministry. The word Galilee 


simply means the Ring or the Circle. The full title 
was " Gelil-ha-Goiim : Galilee of the Gentiles ; or the 
" Circle of the Gentiles/' so-called because Galilee was, 
of all Palestine, the province most filled with heathen. 

The land itself is by far the most beautiful and fertile 
part of Palestine. It rises gradually in great terraces 
from the Plain of Esdraelon. The first of these is 
Lower Galilee, which embraces the chief scenes of our 
Lord's ministry, including the Sea of Galilee. It is a 
series of parallel ridges, running east and west, none of 
them more than 1850 feet in height, and with broad 
valleys nestling between them. North of this, again, 
lies Upper Galilee, a succession of plateaux surrounded 
by hills from 2000 to 4000 feet in height, and sloping 
up to the foot of the Lebanon Range. Galilee, it has 
been said, is "the casting forth of the roots of Lebanon." 
Just as the roots of an oak rise gradually above the 
ground and converge into the trunk, so Galilee rises 
gradually out of Esdraelon towards Lebanon. 

Lebanon and Hermon create the fertility of the 
province. The great mountains gather and disperse 
moisture all the year round, so that Galilee is as well 
watered as Judaea is dry. " In fact," it has been said, 
:< the difference between Galilee and Judaea is just the 
difference between their names the one liquid and 
musical like her running waters, the other dry and 
dead like the fall of your horse's hoof on her blistered 
and muffled rock." In consequence of this abundance 
Df water, the province is exuberantly fertile. Galilee 
is almost as well wooded as our own land. The olive 
was so abundant that a proverb ran : " It is easier to 
*aise a legion of olives in Galilee than to bring up a 
shild in Judaea." 


The population in our Lord's time must have been 
very large. Josephus, who was governor of Galilee 
only thirty years later, puts it at three millions, and 
there is reason to believe that he was not far out in his 
estimate. The character of the people was always very 
distinct frank, open, generous, with their own rough 
dialect (" thou art a Galilean, for thy speech bewrayeth 
thee ") and their own hot temper. The Galileans 
were the chief source from which the Zealots of the 
Roman war were drawn; and from first to last the 
race was a chivalrous, gallant and generous one. " The 
Galileans," says even the Jewish Talmud, " were more 
anxious for honour than for money ; the contrary was 
true of Judaea." So our Lord chose his friends from 
this faithful and courageous race ; and it was not a 
Galilean, but a man of Judaea, who betrayed him. 

We are apt to look upon Galilee as remote and 
rough, and inconsiderable in comparison with Judaea ; 
but that is simply because we look at it through Jewish 
eyes, and take at their own value the Jewish proverbs : 
" Search and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet," 
and " Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ? " 
These were, however, the utterances, partly of Judaea's 
parochial conceit, partly of her contempt for Galilee's 
mingling with the Gentiles, partly perhaps of her 
jealousy of Galilean enterprise and wealth. As a 
matter of fact, Galilee was far more loyal than Judaea 
to the Hebrew ideals. The Messianic hope was stronger 
there than anywhere else in Palestine, and therefore it 
was to Galilee that Jesus first came, saying: "The 
Kingdom of God is at hand." Further, instead of 
being remote and rustic, and out of the way of 
civilization, Galilee was far more central than Judaea, 


1. AMAH'S PA LACK, SAMARIA ( /. 4') 

2, iihkon's STAIK, AMAH'S I'AI.ACK (/. 4 1 ) 


and far more in the world's eye. Judaea was on the 
road to nowhere ; Galilee was crossed by roads to 

The great west road from Damascus passed right 
through Galilee by the upper end of the Sea of Galilee 
through Capernaum to the Phoenician ports of Tyre 
and Sidon. " Via Maris " (the Way of the Sea) it was 
called, and it was at one of its toll-gates that Matthew 
the Publican s~t at the receipt of custom. By this 
road all the traffic of the east passed through to the 
Mediterranean shore, and the road was always thronged 
with caravans. From the Sea of Galilee the great 
south road ran down towards Egypt, taking the traffic 
of Damascus down to Alexandria, and bearing the 
return loads of fine Egyptian work. 

These were the main arteries ; but the whole country 
was covered with a network of roads. " Of all things 
in Galilee," remarks a modern traveller, " it was the 
sight of these immemorial roads which taught and 
moved me the most not because they were trodden 
by the Patriarchs, and some of them must soon shake 
to the railway train, not because the chariots of Assyria 
and Rome have both rolled along them but because 
it was up and down these roads that the immortal 
figures of the Parables passed. By them came the 
merchantman seeking goodly pearls, the king depart- 
ing to receive his kingdom, the friend on a journey, 
the householder arriving suddenly upon his servants, 
the prodigal son coming back from the far country. 
The far country ! What a meaning has this frequent 
phrase of Christ's when you stand in Galilee by one of 
her great roads roads which so easily carried willing 
feet from the pious homes of Asher and Naphtali 


to the harlot cities of Phoenicia roads which were 
in touch with Babylon and Rome." (" Hist. Geog." 

Galilee, then, instead of being the quiet, retired 
country district that we naturally think of when we 
read the Gospels, was a busy commercial province, in 
close touch with the great business towns of Phoenicia 
and Syria, swarming with Greek merchants, and largely 
permeated by Greek influences. It was a gay, busy, 
worldly scene on which our Lord looked as he walked 
the roads of Galilee. The business, the foreign in- 
fluences, the foreign art, and the stirring life, all centred 
upon the Sea of Galilee. But, before we look at the 
Lake, and its girdle of towns, let us glance at the place 
of our Lord's upbringing. 

Nazareth had always a bad reputation among the 
Jews. "Can there any good thing come out of 
Nazareth ? " said Nathanael, quoting a current saying ; 
but, whatever the character of the villagers may have 
been, the situation of the village is singularly fine. It 
lies on the most southerly slope of Lower Galilee, just 
above the Plain of Esdraelon. You cannot see the 
plain from the village, which nestles among hills ; but 
the moment you climb to the edge of the basin in 
which the village lies, a most magnificent view of the 
historic scenes of the Old Testament spreads itself 
before you. All the scenes of the struggles already 
enumerated, together with Carmel, Shunem, the Jordan 
Valley, the long range of Gilead, and even in the distant 
west the far-off glimmer of the Mediterranean all lie 
before you. You can see 30 miles in three directions, 
and the view is a perfect map of Old Testament 


But, besides all this, when the boy Jesus looked out 
from the hillside above his home, he could see all the 
fulness of the many-coloured life of Galilee spread 
before him. The caravans toiling wearily along from 
Egypt, the pilgrims climbing up from the fords of the 
Jordan, the long trains of Arab camels, and the mer- 
chants of Damascus, all passed within easy view. Or, 
if the boy looked northwards, there was the highway 
between Acre and the Decapolis, with troops and 
merchantmen coming and going, and princes and 
noblemen journeying on business of State or pleasure. 
Now and then the sound of the Roman trumpets would 
waken the little village, and the long, dusty, iron ranks 
would swing past in the valley under the eagles ; while 
all the stories of Rome and of ihe subject princes, the 
Herods and the like, would be common talk around 
the village doors. 

" Here, then/ ; it has been said, " He grew up, and 
suffered temptation, Who was tempted in all points 
like as we are, yet without sin. The perfection of his 
purity and patience was achieved, not easily as behind 
a wide fence which shut the world out, but amid 
rumour and scandal, with every provocation to 
unlawful curiosity and premature ambition. A vision 
of all the kingdoms of the world was as possible from 
this village as from the mount of temptation. But the 
chief lesson which Nazareth teaches us is the pos- 
sibility of a pure home and a spotless youth in the 
very face of the evil world." (G. A. Smith, " Hist. 

Geog." 434-435-) 

We turn now from the scene of Christ's upbringing 
to that of His early ministry. The Sea of Galilee was 
the focus of the whole province, and the gathering 


place for all its influences, good or bad. " Imagine 
that wealth of water, that fertility. . . . those great 
highways, that numerous population, that commerce 
and industry, those strong Greek influences imagine 
them all crowded into a deep valley, under an almost 
tropical heat, and round a great blue lake, and you 
have before you the conditions in which Christianity 
arose and Christ Himself chiefly laboured. We do 
not realize that the greater part of our Lord's ministry 
was accomplished at what may truly be called the 
bottom of a trench 680 feet below the level of the sea." 
The lake, which plays so great and so picturesque a 
part in the story of the Synoptics, is shaped like a harp, 
and is 13 miles long by eight broad at its widest 
part, the north-western end. Nowadays its sur- 
roundings are somewhat bleak, and trees are almost 
absent. The mountains around are quite bare and 
grey. Only one town is visible Tiberias, a poor dirty, 
fevered place of some 5000 inhabitants. Besides this 
there are three or four small villages round the shore ; 
while practically the only boats that dot the lake are 
those that carry Cook's tourists. But the scene was 
very different in the time of our Lord. Where there 
are only bare treeless slopes, there were then great 
woods; where there are pestilential marshes, there 
were noble gardens ; where there is only a boat or two, 
there were fleets of galleys, pleasure boats, and fishing- 
boats, the fisherman's trade being one of considerable 
importance. The population of the district has greatly 
diminished. Round the lake there stood in the days 
of the Saviour's ministry at least nine towns, the smallest 
of them numbering 15,000 inhabitants, the greatest 
much larger. In fact, the lake must have been practi- 


1. HKkon's STREET, SAMARIA (/>. 41) 

2. TEMPLE OF SAMARIA (/. 4 1 ) 


cally girdled by a ring of buildings, so that the desert 
places to which the disciples resorted for rest were not 
what we are prone to imagine them, refuges in the 
wilderness, but rather oases of quietness interspersed 
between busy commercial towns. The crowds which 
thronged upon the Lord during his Galilean ministry 
are easily accounted for when one remembers the 
density of population around the lake. 

Of most of the towns on the shore, Capernaum, 
Taricheae, Magdala, Bethsaida, 'Hippos, Chorazin, 
Gadara, the remains are but scanty, and in some cases 
even the sites are doubtful. Tiberias and Magdala 
stood on the western shore, Gadara and Hippos on the 
eastern, while Bethsaida and Capernaum lay at the 
northern end of the lake, and the positions of Taricheae 
and Chorazin are still uncertain. The only surviving 
town, Tiberias, was founded by Herod, and named 
after one of the vilest of the Roman Emperors- 
Tiberius. No true Jew would enter the heathen town 
which the Edomite had built ; so Herod peopled his 
new capital with the scum of the land. The whole 
tone and atmosphere of the place must have been 
hateful to our Lord ; and, consequently, we have no 
record of His ever having entered Tiberias. Christ had 
no great love for the half Greek cities of the district, 
and was far more at home among the country folks 
than among Herod's pagan courtiers and officials. 
The strange thing is that, while the name of Jesus has 
utterly vanished from the neighbourhood, that of the 
infamous Tiberius still survives in the town called 
after him. 

One wonders sometimes, at the great proportion of 
sick among the crowds who thronged to Christ in 


Galilee. Were all the people diseased ? The explanation 
probably lies in the fact that about a mile from the 
south end of the ancient city wall of Tiberias lay hot 
baths, famed then, as they are still, for their efficacy in 
all sorts of diseases. Patients throng to them in great 
crowds from all parts of Syria, especially in June and 
July. It was, no doubt, from similar crowds of health- 
seekers that the numbers of impotent and diseased 
folk that strike the imagination so forcibly as we read 
the Gospels, were brought to the feet of the Great 

On the western side of the lake, not far from 
Tiberias, the green shores slope upwards to a double 
hill, the Horns of Hattin, where tradition has fixed 
the site of Christ's Sermon on the Mount, and of the 
feeding of the multitude. Strangely enough it was on 
this spot, sacred to peace and mercy, that the Crusading 
chivalry fought its last great battle against the hosts of 
Saladin. Quarrelling among themselves, disheartened 
and disunited, tempted, it is said, by treachery, the 
Knights of the Cross came forth to meet the great 
Saracen army. A hot July night was succeeded by a 
blazing day, to add to whose horrors the Moslems set 
fire to the scrub. The knights choked in their hot 
armour ; the foot soldiers, blinded by the smoke and 
maddened by the heat, broke their ranks and were 
ridden down mercilessly by the Moslem cavalry. In 
spite of the desperate bravery of a few staunch men, 
the end was utter rout and butchery. " A militant and 
truculent Christianity, as false as the relics of the 
True Cross round which it was rallied, met its judicial 
end within view of the scenes where Christ proclaimed 
the Gospel of Peace, and went about doing good." 


Thus then a view of Galilee as it was in the days of 
our Lord reveals to us what we might scarcely have 
gathered from the Gospels. Namely that His early 
ministry was cast not in a secluded country district 
a backwater of the great world-stream but in a 
district far more populous, far more commercial, 
far more permeated with outside influences than 
Judaea. Galilee gave to Jesus a race of men far 
readier to receive the new truth than the stubborn 
men of Judaea ; but it gave Him and His Apostles also 
the Open Door, by which the word of truth could go 
forth, east, west, south and north, to the conquest of 
all the nations whose representatives thronged the 
cities of Galilee, and crowded its busy roads. 



FROM the Land itself we turn now to the Peoples who 
inhabited it at various periods of its history. We have 
to remember, what is at first a little difficult for us, to 
whom the history of Palestine practically means Bible 
history, that the story of the Land by no means began 
with the coming of the Children of Israel. They were 
comparatively late comers on the scene, and, ancient 
as their story seems to us, it is but of yesterday in 
comparison with the races which had preceded them. 
Race after race had already come and gone in the 
Land before the Israelites appeared, each leaving its 
own mark, which is only now beginning to be traced. 
Of the most ancient race that we can recognize any 
record of, we probably know more than the Israelites 
themselves did, though that is not saying a great deal. 
Nor, even when the Israelites came, were they the 
only invaders. Another race, whose lineage is now 
becoming clear, had preceded them by a generation or 
two, entering from the West, as they did from the 
East. For long it was a question whether the land 
should be Hebrew or Philistine, and while the Hebrew 
finally conquered in the struggle, the Philistine so 
impressed himself upon the land that it bears his name 
to this day for Palestine is just the Land of the 

We go back, then, not to the dawn of history, but a 


great deal beyond that, into the darkness of pre- 
historic times, and we look on a very different Palestine 
from that which meets us in the earliest Hebrew 
records* In four short passages in the Pentateuch 
(Gen. xiv. 6; xxxvi. 20 ; Deut. ii. 12 ; ii. 22) we find 
references to a race known as the Horites. The 
passages show that the Israelites knew next to nothing 
about them ; they were only a memory in the land. 
Two things may be gathered without going beyond the 
limits of reasonable inference. The Horites are men- 
tioned quite separate from the tall races whose stature 
so impressed the Hebrews when they came into the 
land, and therefore we may conclude .(0 that they 
were a small or a moderately-sized people, and 
(2) that they had been dispossessed and driven out by 
stronger races. Further, their name is believed to mean 
" cave-dwellers." So with the Horites we probably get 
as near as we ever shall to the beginnings of things in 
Palestine. But how near or how far is that ? The 
Israelites knew nothing of these men, and till a few 
years ago we knew little more ; they were merely names. 
Now we know, not a great deal certainly, but still far 
more than the Hebrews knew, and enough to let us 
form some kind of a picture of life in Palestine at 
about 5000 B.C. For several years since 1902 Mr. 
Macalister has been excavating for the Palestine 
Exploration Fund the great mound which lies where 
the famous city of Gezer once lay on the slopes looking 
to the Maritime Plain. He has gradually cut down 
through the various levels which mark different periods 
of the town's history, and, lowermost of all, in the very 
rock on which Gezer was afterwards built he has found 
the traces of a people who, if not certainly the Horites, 


are at least all that the Horites appear to have been. 
The soft rock of the hill of Gezer was full of caves, some 
of them very small, one-roomed houses in fact, some 
of them quite elaborate groups of chambers connected 
by winding passages, the houses, no doubt, of the rich 
and powerful. They were all entered by a hole in the 
roof, from which steps led down to the floor, and the 
only light came from this hole. A few had channels to 
carry away the rain water which fell in ; most, how- 
ever, were not so luxuriously fitted, and the water was 
allowed to gather in pools on the floor. 

Not a trace of metal of any sort was to be found in 
these ancient houses. Flint knives, mostly very rudely 
made, smooth round stones for grinding, or for use as 
weapons, pottery, the rudest of the rude in shape and 
make, and a few scraps of bone with the most elemen- 
tary attempts at drawing upon them, constituted all the 
evidence as to the condition of the inhabitants. The 
few human remains left (for the cave-dwellers usually 
burned their dead) show them to have been a race of 
small stature, averaging perhaps 5 feet I inch in height, 
with thick skulls and powerful muscles. Of civilization 
they can have had next to nothing. 

Their religion, however, has left some traces. Its 
holy place lay on the top of the rock of Gezer. Here 
the whole rock was covered with cup-shaped hollows. 
Beneath were two large caves, whence, no doubt, the 
Horite priests and medicine-men gave mysterious 
answers to the worshippers who made offerings above. 
Some of the cup-shaped hollows had channels leading 
down to the caves, and no doubt the blood of sacrifice 
was poured into the hollows, and ran down into the 
caves. The god was probably the earth-god or demon 


whom so many ancient races worshipped, and from 
the great accumulation of pig's bones in the sacred 
cave it is evident that the pig was the sacrificial animal. 
The prohibition of the swine to Jews as an unclean 
animal is familiar, and Isaiah (Ixv. 4; Ixvi. 17) speaks 
with horror of sacrificing swine's blood. It seems not 
improbable that in this prohibition and horror we see 
the remains, embedded in tradition like a fossil, of the 
disgust with which the Israelites heard of these ancient 
cave-dwellers and their rude life and barbarous religion. 

But the Horites were not the only cave-dwellers of 
Palestine. When Joshua sent up the spies into the 
land, they brought back a most favourable report of the 
country, but they had no hope of capturing the cities 
which, they said, were " great and walled up to 
heaven" (Deut. i. 28). "And," they said, "all the 
people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which 
come of the giants : and we were in our own sight as 
grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." About 
the high-walled cities, we shall hear again ; meanwhile, 
what about this tall race which so terrified the spies ? 

First of all we may rule out at once a race of giants. 
There has never been such a thing. But you may have 
an exceptionally tall race, perhaps, like the Pata- 
gonians, averaging six feet, and among this race you 
may have here and there a few exceptionally tall 
individuals. Present such a race before a few spies 
belonging to a people rather under than over the 
average in stature, and you will get just such a report 
as the spies brought back. Early travellers told much 
the same story about the Patagonians, who are a very 
tall race certainly, but not giants. There was, then, a 


race of great stature in the land, distinct from the 
other nations, when the Israelites came. Some mem- 
bers of this race joined themselves later to the Philis- 
tines, and served in their army against Israel. One 
exceptionally tall member of it has become historic 
Goliath of Gath who looked, no doubt, all the bigger 
because the Philistines are now known to have sprung 
from a stock whose members were, on the average, of 
small stature. 

Now, all through the southern part of Palestine, there 
are traces of a race of cave-dwellers very different from 
the Horites. They were further advanced ; they used 
metal, as the pick-marks in their caves show. They 
were fairly civilized, for their houses are hewn with 
great exactness, and contain water -stores, oil-presses, 
and other conveniences of civilized life. Moreover, 
they liked plenty of accommodation. One of these 
cave-houses has sixty rooms ; and caves with five, ten, 
twenty rooms are not uncommon. If one is to judge 
by the size of the rooms they used, they were big men, 
who liked plenty of space. One of their chambers, 
an exceptional instance certainly, was 400 feet long and 
80 high. The chief centre of these cave-dwellers was 
a place on the edge of the Philistine Plain, which is 
now known as Beit-Jibrin. And here, in the very sur- 
vival of the name, we have evidence of the reality at 
the back of the tradition, for Beit-Jibrin is just the 
Hebrew " Beth-ha-Gibborim," "The House of the 
Mighty Men " another witness to the essential truth 
of the ancient record. The sons of Anak, the Emim, or 
''Dreadful Ones," the Zamzummim, or " stammerers," 
the Rephaim and Nephilim, all these, by whatever 
name they were called, were no fantastic dream of the 



early Hebrew invaders. A race of big men there was, 
big enough to frighten the Hebrews at all events, and 
here and there, no doubt among them, as among all tall 
races, an extra big fellow like Goliath very terrible to 
look at, but not of much account when you actually 
came to fight with him. And they hewed for them- 
selves those great caves, and might have lived their 
own lives of rude comfort in them long enough, had 
not the Hebrews come in to dispossess them. 

Besides the cave-dwellers, there were at least two 
other important races in the land when the Hebrews 
came into touch with it. Of the first of these we need 
only make mention at present, for we shall meet with 
them again later. When Abraham was in Palestine, 
he had dealings, rather friendly and courteous, with a 
race called the children of Heth (Gen. xxiii.) ; and 
later (Gen. xxvii. 46), Rebekah was very anxious 
that her favourite son Jacob should not take a wife of 
the daughters of Heth, as his elder brother had done. 
These children of Heth were the Hittites, the relics 
of whose great empire, covering a great part of Syria 
and Asia Minor, are coming to light more and more 
year by year. They were a vigorous and powerful 
people, of wonderfully advanced civilization, and, as 
we know from Egyptian sources, were strong enough 
at one time to contend on equal terms with the 
Egyptian empire at its strongest. 

Behind the Hittites there rises a dark and sinister 
racethe race of the Amorites. They were of Semitic 
stock kindred to the Hebrews ; and yet, according 
to Scripture, one of the chief missions of the Hebrews 
in Palestine was to destroy and exterminate them. 
Centuries before the tribes entered the Land of Pro- 


mise, God gave to Abraham as one of the reasons for 
the delay in putting him in possession of the land the 
statement "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet 
full." (Gen. xv. 16.) By the time that Israel was 
ready to enter upon its inheritance, the cup had been 
filled to overflowing, and the order issued to the tribes 
was this. "Of the cities of these people . . . thou 
shalt save alive nothing that breatheth : but thou shalt 
utterly destroy them ... as the Lord thy God hath 
commanded thee : that they teach you not to do after 
all their abominations, which they have done with their 
gods ; so should ye sin against the Lord your God." 
(Deut. xx. 16-18.) 

At first sight this seems to be a piece of mere 
savagery absolute and inexcusable ; and in all the 
arguments directed to prove the defective morality of 
the Old Testament, this command never fails to come 
to the front. To put such a command into the mouth 
of God is to libel God, and to show that the men who 
transmitted it were utterly ignorant of the essential 
qualities of the Divine nature. Incidentally, with the 
baser sort of critic, the suggestion is made What is 
the worth of the Bible when it contains abominations 
such as this an order for the extermination of a 
guileless and innocent native race ? 

Fortunately, the point does not need any longer to be 
argued in the abstract. It was a plausible ground of 
attack upon the morality of the Old Testament, as long 
as nothing was known of the Amorites and their kindred 
races, and the "guileless native" theory was still 
tenable. It was easy to say that the charge of iniquity 
made against the Canaanite races was the stock slander 
preferred by the covetous people against the race 


which was to be devoured the wolf and the lamb 
incident over again. But to-day we do know something 
about the Amorites ; and the position is altered con- 
siderably. Our evidence is at least absolutely unim- 
peachable. It does not come from the conquering 
race, anxious to justify their cruelty by slandering the 
people whom they slew. It comes from the works of 
the hands of the Canaanites themselves, as they have 
been found in tnat same mound of Gezer which taught 
us about the Horites, and whose successive strata have 
proved to be almost an index to the history of Palestine 
down to the time of the Maccabees. The case, however 
does not depend upon the Gezer evidence alone ; for 
that evidence has been corroborated by that of the ex- 
cavations at Megiddo, Taanach and elsewhere. 

The Horites were succeeded at Gezer probably 
driven out, and possibly exterminated by the Amorites. 
These were a race of that same Semitic stock from 
which the Hebrews themselves sprang. When they 
began to come into Palestine, we can scarcely tell 
possibly somewhere round about 2500 B.C. They did 
not come all at once, but drifted in in separate bands, 
and kept drifting in for centuries. We can still see the 
process of drift and conquest going on as late as about 
1400 B.C. in the Tell-el-Amarna letters written by the 
local kinglets and Egyptian residents in Palestine to 
the reigning Pharaoh of Egypt, and describing the 
advance of the Habiri, a conquering race, or con- 
glomerate of tribes, who have by some been identified 
with the Hebrews, though the probability seems to lie 
in the direction of their having been an earlier Semitic 
invasion. But by the time of the Tell-el-Amarna letters, 
Gezer was an old Amorite stronghold. 


Let us try to realize what it was like, and what went 
on there. As you come up to it from the Maritime 
Plain, you notice the strength of the position. The 
town stands upon a hill, not too hard to climb, but 
sleep enough to make it difficult to assault, and im- 
possible to command by any siege-engines of the day. 
All around the top of the hill runs a wall. Looking at it 
you cease to wonder that the Israelite spies later spoke 
of " cities walled up to heaven." It is hardly that, but a 
wall at least 30 feet high by 14 thick must have seemed 
a very formidable obstacle to men who had newly 
come from the desert, with its unfenced encampments. 
The water-supply of the town, too, has been carefully 
attended to, and the great tunnel, 12 feet wide by 23 
feet high, which leads down to the spring of living 
water 90 feet below the surface of the rock, is no mean 
feat of engineering executed, too, entirely by means of 
flint tools. 

Inside the gales, the foundations for a new house are 
being laid. Now the Amorites are a very religious 
people, and do nothing of importance without making 
an offering to their gods. So important an undertaking 
as the building of a new house needs an offering of 
corresponding importance. There must be a founda- 
tion sacrifice. While you are looking on, a woman is 
brought along ; she is not very old, but she is crippled 
on one side with rheumatism, and can the more easily 
be spared. She is thrown down in the cavity beneath the 
rough block which is to be the foundation-stone ; two 
food vessels are placed beside her, and then the building 
goes on over the poor tortured body. The gods are 
propitiated, and the house will have good luck. Not 
far along the street another house was built a few weeks 



ago. They made sacrifice of a man that time ; but he 
had lost his left hand in some fight, and so he was not 
much use any way. Further north, at Megiddo, the 
Amorite taste for foundation sacrifices ran rather in the 
direction of young girls of fifteen or so; but the 
Amorites of Gezer have other uses for their girls, as we 
shall see. 

In the book of Joshua (vi. 26), we are told how 
Joshua laid a curse upon the man who should rebuild 
Jericho ; and in i Kings xvi. 34, we read how Hiel the 
Bethelite braved the curse in King Ahab's days. " He 
laid the foundations thereof with the loss of Abiramhis 
first-born, and set up the gates thereof with the loss of 
his youngest son Segub." The curse had fallen indeed. 
But the word translated " with the loss of/' is really 
very much simpler. It literally means " in/' or " upon." 
Read the verse now after what you have seen at Gezer. 
" He laid the foundation thereof upon Abiram his first- 
born, and set up the gate thereof upon his youngest 
son Segub." That was how the curse fell upon Hiel 
victim of the abominable rites of the old Canaanite 
faith, which forced him to slay his sons in order to 
bring good fortune to the city.* 

Now let us go up to the High Place of Gezer, and 
see how the Amorite worships God in His sanctuary. 
The High Place lies on the top of the hilL It is marked 

* Professor Driver (Schweich Lectures, 1908, p. 72) questions this 
interpretation of i Kings xvi. 34, and maintains the traditional view 
that the loss of Hiel's sons was caused by accident. His argument, 
however, does not seem conclusive. His main point is this : " If a 
foundation sacrifice was a custom of the time there would be nothing 
unusual about it." There is no evidence that in the time of Ahab 
foundation-sacrifice was a custom of the time. The probability is all 
in the other direction, and that Hiel's adherence to the obsolete 
Amorite custom of foundation-sacrifice was conspicuous enough, for 
that very reason, to be regarded as the fulfilment of Joshua's curse. 


by a row of ten great standing-stones placed in a 
north and south line. The middle stone has been 
dragged here from a distance, for it is of a different 
kind of stone from anything near Gezer, and a groove 
runs right round its centre, showing where the drag- 
rope was fastened. Close to these monoliths stands a 
tall wooden pole fixed in a great stone socket. It is 
dark with anointing ; and perhaps it would be as well 
not to inquire too closely into what the anointing liquid 
may have been. Frequent mention is made in Scrip- 
ture of the "groves " which the Israelites set up on 
high places, copying these Amorites. They were not 
groves, as we understand the word, at all. They were 
" Asherahs," like the tall totem-pole, and the prophets 
hated and denounced the worship connected with 
them, because it was characterized traditionally and 
inseparably by bloodshed and brutal immorality. 

Presently a company of worshippers comes up to 
the High Place, at their head a young married couple. 
They are bringing their first-born son, a week old, to 
dedicate him to God. The dedication, however, is not 
accomplished as an Hebrew would do it, or as we do 
at a baptism. The little baby is handed to the priest ; 
a single blow or a compression of the throat, and the 
feeble life goes out. The tiny body is placed in an 
earthenware jar with two little jars of food for the 
spirit's use in the under-world ; and the consecrated 
child is buried in the earth of the Holy Place. If you 
could dig in the hill here, you would find dozens of 
such offerings under your feet. Sometimes, when the 
gods are very angry, even stronger steps have to be 
taken. Go outside the Holy Place a few steps, and you 
will find the spot where they buried a young girl, not 


long ago, with two companions. She was sawn asunder 
before they buried her. Her girl-friends got off easier ; 
they were only beheaded. 

The great altar lies south of the row of sacred stones. 
It is IT feet long, made of earth rammed and baked 
till it is almost as hard as stone ; but it is not earth 
alone ; the soil is mixed with human heads. Surely so 
costly an altar cannot fail to be well-pleasing to God. 
Into the rest of the Amorite worship, as revealed in the 
High Place of Gezer, it is impossible to enter. There 
are things which are too vile to describe, and the votive 
offerings in this old shrine speak as convincingly of 
bestial immorality as they do of cruelty. Below the 
Holy Place was the sacred cave where the priests of 
this edifying religion lurked to give hollow-sounding 
responses, as from their god, to the people who craved 
an oracle. 

Such, at least in the religious aspect of their character, 
were the Amorites, that guileless and innocent people 
whose extermination is a blot upon the morality of the 
Old Testament, and a convenient argument against 
the Bible. They may have had many private and civic 
virtues of which we know nothing, but there is no 
getting round or away from the evidence which their 
own hands have buried that it might rise up in judgment 
against them to-day and damn them. There are some 
very dreadful things which are in reality merely sanitary 
measures ; and if ever carnage was "God's daughter," 
it was when the Israelites swept away, not half 
thoroughly enough, the abominations with which 
the " iniquity of the Amorite " had cursed the Land of 
Promise. The question of how the Hebrews reached 
the religious ideals presented in the Old Testament, 


while their fellows, of the same stock, reached the 
ideals represented by the High Place of Gezer, is a 
hard one for those who maintain that the faith of the 
Israelites was a mere natural growth. 

We turn now to the people who, more than any 
other race, have been familiar to us as the great rivals 
and enemies of the Hebrews, the people who have 
given their own name to the land which once seemed 
on the verge of becoming altogether their possession, 
and who played a most important part, how important 
we are only now beginning to realize, in its early 
development. Probably the idea that most people 
form of the Philistines is of a race who stood for all 
that was evil, backward, and hopeless in the world's 
history, and who, in their struggle with the Israelites, 
represented darkness fighting against light. It is a little 
difficult for us all at once to adjust our minds to the 
new perspective, and to realize that except in one 
particular, certainly a most important one, the par- 
ticular of religion, things were really all the opposite 
way. Yet that is the truth. As between Philistines 
and Israelites, it was the Philistines who were cultured, 
artistic, progressive, enlightened, and it was the 
Israelites who were rude, untaught, and only half- 
civilized. The Israelite was the possessor of one great 
secret of which the Philistines knew next to nothing ; 
he had the revelation of the one living and true God, 
and that, in the end, has made him of far more lasting 
significance in the history of the world than his rival ; 
but in everything else the Israelite was generations 
behind his opponent. 

Who, then, were the Philistines ? A dozen years 
ago no one could have answered that question with 


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anything like certainty. Now we have quite a fair 
amount of knowledge with regard to them. From 
somewhere about 3000 B.C. to about 1400 B.C. a great 
maritime empire existed in the island of Crete. Its 
capital city was Knossos, not far from the present town 
of Candia ; and, by means of its fleets, it had established 
itself as the dominant power in the Mediterranean area 
and the ^Egean. Later traditions linked all its splen- 
dour with the great King Minos ; and, for that reason, 
though many kings must have shared in the upbuilding 
and maintenance of this great sea-power, the Cretan 
Empire is known as the Minoan Empire. 

Somewhere about 1400 B.C. an overwhelming dis- 
aster overtook this ancient thalassocracy. The details 
are unknown to us ; but in all probability the Minoan 
fleet was defeated by a fleet manned by men of the 
same stock, but coming from the mainland colonies of 
Mycenae, Tiryns and elsewhere, which had long ago 
been established by the men of Crete. We know that 
the great palace of the Cretan kings at Knossos, exca- 
vated since 1900 by Sir A. J. Evans, was sacked and 
destroyed by fire, and that the power of the Minoan 
Empire was utterly broken. The greatest sea-power 
of the ancient world was shattered to pieces, and the 
Minoans were scattered to the four winds of heaven. 
These Cretans, we must remember, were no barbarians, 
but a people highly cultured and far advanced in 
civilization, at least on a level with the great races of 
Babylonia and Egypt, and from some points of view, 
such as the form of their writing, even ahead of them. 
From all the indications they have left behind them, 
wonderfully recovered for us by the excavations at 
Knossos, Phaistos, Hagia Triada and elsewhere ia 


Crete, it has become clear that it is probably not too 
much to say that no more naturally gifted race has 
ever lived on earth. 

After their overthrow there was no place for them in 
the old home, and multitudes of the bolder spirits 
among them began to build ships, and set out to 
conquer new homes for themselves. They leagued 
themselves with other homeless tribes, and we begin to 
find them appearing on the Egyptian monuments as 
the Peoples of the Sea pirates and adventurers who 
gave the Egyptian fleets no end of trouble. This went 
on for some time. At last, somewhere about the time 
when the Israelites may have been wandering in the 
desert, they united in one great invasion of Palestine 
and attack on the Egyptian frontier. They over- 
whelmed all opposition in Palestine ; but Egypt, 
under Ramses III, the last of her great soldier kings, 
was too strong for them. They were beaten back in 
a great battle both by land and sea, and their league 
was broken up. The Cretan part of it, however, did 
not fall back far. They settled on the coast of 
Palestine, particularly in the southern part of the 
Maritime Plain ; and there they quickly established a 
new and formidable State whose main strength lay in a 
league of five cities Ashdod, Gath, Gaza, Ashkelon, 
and Ekron. 

Before long they began to reach out their hands 
farther north and east. Fine soldiers, better armed 
than the native tribes of Palestine, equipped, above 
all, with iron weapons as against the bronze of the 
native races, it seemed as though the whole land must 
quickly fall into their power. But as they pressed 
eastwards, a new race of claimants for the land began 


to enter it from beyond the Jordan, and these two 
currents of conquest, moving in opposite directions, 
quickly came into conflict. It was the first of many 
hostile meetings of East and West ; and Mr. Macalister 
has graphically pointed out how completely the cir- 
cumstances of this struggle are at variance with our 
natural ideas of the secular enmity of the two. " Thus 
it was that the West first met the East. It was a 
curious reversal of the usual circumstances of such 
antagonisms. We are inclined to picture the West as 
a thing of yesterday, new fangled with its inventions 
and its civilization, and the East as an embodiment of 
hoary and unchanging tradition. But when West 
first met East on the shores of the Holy Land, it was 
the former which represented the magnificent traditions 
of the past, and the latter which looked forward to the 
future. The Philistines were of the remnant of the 
dying glories of Crete ; the Hebrews had no past to 
speak of, but were entering on the heritage they 
regarded as theirs, by right of a recently ratified divine 
covenant." (" Civilisation in Palestine/' p. 54.) 

At first the Western race had it pretty much their 
own way. The Hebrews were fighting against a race 
war-wise by long experience and united. They them- 
selves were a cluster of incoherent tribes, only led by 
tribal sheikhs. Moreover, one curious passage of 
Scripture tells us of an almost vital advantage possessed 
by the Philistines. "Now there was no smith found 
throughout all the land of Israel : for the Philistines 
said : ' Lest the Hebrews make them swords or 
spears.' ... So it came to pass in the day of battle, 
that there were neither sword nor spear found in the 
hand of any of the people that were with Saul and 


Jonathan : but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was 
there found." (I Samuel xiii. 19-22.) Probably the 
passage means, not that the Philistines had deprived 
the Hebrews of their iron weapons, but that they were 
just about a century ahead of their Hebrew rivals in 
the arts and crafts. They knew how to work iron, the 
Israelites did not, and had nothing but the inferior 
bronze; and the Philistines jealously guarded their 
monopoly, though one or two of the chief men of the 
Hebrew race were able to get hold of the coveted 
iron weapons. 

Saul and his sons, by their bravery and warlike skill, 
brought about a temporary check to the tide of 
Philistine conquest; but it gradually rose again as 
Saul's powers, mental and bodily, failed him. By the 
end of his reign the Hebrews were practically shut up 
in the hills, and the Philistines had extended their 
dominions right up the coast-line and through Esdraelon 
to Bethshan, and were threatening the Jordan Valley. 
To hold them back, Saul fought his last battle on 
Mount Gilboa, and was utterly defeated. David began 
his reign practically as a vassal of the Philistines, but 
his military genius turned the scale. By his conquest 
of the old Jebusite stronghold of Jerusalem, which had 
so far held the northern and southern tribes apart, he 
united the Hebrew power ; and when the Philistines, 
jealous of their vassal's growing strength, came up 
against him, he beat them in three successive struggles 
so severely that their power seems to have been broken 
for good and all. Henceforward it gradually dwindled, 
until they became practically absorbed in their Canaanite 
surroundings. The land was to be Hebrew, not 
Philistine, and the new race was to have the chance 


of working out its new ideals and above all the great 
thoughts about God and His truth which had been 
given in charge to it. 

But though the Philistines had failed to make the 
land their own, we are not to suppose that their story 
is a blind alley in the history of Palestine, and that 
their work led nowhere. On the contrary, there can 
be little doubt that the Hebrews owed them an infinite 
deal. For one thing they taught their Semitic rivals, un- 
wittingly but surely, the arts and crafts which they had 
brought with them from Minoan Crete. The Philistines 
were the only really cultured and artistic race that ever 
inhabited Palestine at least until the Greeks came ; 
and there is no more curious perversion of fact than 
that which has made the name " Philistine " a synonym 
for obscurantism and bad taste. Hebrew art was mostly 
beneath contempt; but, such as it was, we can see 
from the Philistine tombs which have been found that 
the Hebrew copied nearly all he knew from his old 
rivals. The struggle with the Philistines was the first 
step to the raising of the tribes from the state of semi- 
barbarism revealed in the Book of Judges, to the state 
of comparatively high civilization attained in the reigns 
of David and Solomon. 

Above all, there was one gift of almost inestimable 
value. It seems more than likely that the Hebrews 
learned from the Philistines the use of the alphabet, 
with all that this implies of literature and history. 
They may have brought from Egypt a knowledge of 
hieroglyphic or even of that Semitic script which 
Flinders Petrie discovered at Sinai. But the Egyptian 
picture-writing, beautiful as it was, would never have 
preserved for us such a literature as the Hebrews have 


left. Formerly it was believed that the Phoenicians 
gave the alphabet to the world. But it is becoming 
more and more apparent that the Phoenician never 
invented anything, any more than the Hebrew, but 
was always an astute middleman, making profit out of 
other people's brains. Centuries before the Phoenicians 
dreamed of writing, the Cretans were using a script far 
in advance alike of the hieroglyphic of Egypt and the 
cuneiform of Babylonia. The Philistines brought their 
linear writing with them to Palestine ; and it was under 
the influence and from the example of their ancient 
enemies that the Hebrews learned to form an alphabet 
of their own. 

Thus we owe, indirectly, to this misjudged people 
our Bible, with all its records of the wonderful story of 
the race with whom they strove for mastery. Doubtless 
the Philistine could never have done for the world 
what the Hebrew has done ; but we can at least afford 
to be just, and to admit that, had it not been for what 
the Hebrew learned under the pressure of contact and 
strife with the Philistine, we might never have had 
those books of history, prophecy and poetry which are 
the Hebrew's greatest, and indeed his only title to 




WE turn now to the land which is generally recog- 
nized to have been the original home of the human 
race, where, in dim and misty ages before history 
began, men first attempted to form themselves into 
organized communities, where the Hebrew race found 
its origin, and whence their first leader, Abraham, 
went out in search of the land which he should after- 
wards receive for an inheritance. In the south-western 
corner of the great continent of Asia, between the 
Persian Gulf and the border of that great elbow known 
as Asia Minor, which the continent thrusts out west- 
wards, there lies a land whose influence upon the 
history of the human race it would scarcely be possible 
to over-estimate. It is a long and comparatively 
narrow stretch of country, running up from the 
Persian Gulf towards the Taurus mountains and that 
lofty table-land which we now know as Armenia. On 
its northern and north-eastern side it is bordered by 
a fringe of mountains, gradually sloping up towards 
the great northern ranges. On the southern and 
south-western side it fades away into the great Arabian 



Far up in the table-land of Armenia, about 800 
miles in a straight line from the Gulf, rise two great 
rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The former 
breaks through the mountain-wall of the table-land on 
its eastern flank, and flows in a south-easterly direction 
throughout almost its entire course. The latter breaks 
through on the western flank, and flows at first west- 
wards, as though making for the Mediterranean. It 
then turns south, and flows directly southwards for 
awhile, then sweeps round in a great bend to the 
south-east, and follows a course gradually converging 
upon that of its sister stream. Finally, near the sea, 
the two unite, and issue as one river into the Persian 

The land traversed by these two rivers has, like the 
sister river-land of Egypt, been from time immemorial 
one of the great historic centres of human develop- 
ment. It divides into two portions of fairly equal 
length. For the first 400 miles the country gradually 
descends in a gentle slope from the mountains, form- 
ing an irregular triangle between the two rivers, within 
which the land becomes less and less hilly as it sinks 
southwards, till, as it nears the Euphrates, it becomes 
a broad steppe, which, beyond the river, rolls off into 
the desert. This portion is strictly the land called by 
the Greeks "Mesopotamia" "the land between the 
rivers/' which is just a version of the native name for 
it "Aram-Naharaim," "Aram of the Two Rivers. 1 ' 
The Egyptians called it "Naharaina" "The Land of 
the Rivers." 

The second division is totally different in character. 
It is simply a great delta, like that of the Nile, a flat 
alluvial plain which has been entirely formed of the 



silt brought down from the mountains by the two 
great rivers. The process of land making is still going 
on, and the waters of the Persian Gulf are being 
pushed^back at the rate of about 72 feet per annum. 
What this slow process may achieve in many centuries 
is evidenced by the fact that we know that the ancient 
town of Eridu was still, at about 3000 B.C., an important 
sea-port on the Persian Gulf. It is now 125 miles 
from the sea. 

Both lands were entirely dependent for their 
habitability and fertility on the rivers which traversed 
them. In Mesopotamia the Tigris and the Euphrates 
have for long stretches channelled deep into the soil, 
and flow below the level of the land. In the lower 
district, Babylonia, the ordinary level of the rivers is 
frequently above that of the surrounding plain, so that 
inundations are of frequent occurrence, and large 
tracts of the country are now unhealthy marshland. 
In both cases, therefore, though for opposite reasons, 
the hand of man was needed to make the rivers 
helpful. In Mesopotamia the water was controlled by 
dykes and dams which held it up until it was raised to 
the level of the land, over which it was then distri- 
buted by canals. In Babylonia the surplus water was 
drawn off directly by a great canal system, the banks 
of whose ancient arteries still stretch in formidable 
ridges across the plain. 

Under the system of irrigation both lands were 
astonishingly fertile. Even to-day it can be seen that 
only well-directed work is needed to bring back the 
ancient fertility. After the spring rains the Mesopo- 
tamian slopes are clothed with rich verdure and gay 
with flowers. But of old these lands were the wonder 


of the world for their richness. Of Babylonia the 
Greek historian Herodotus writes : " This territory is 
of all that we know the best by far for producing 
grain ; as to trees, it does not even attempt to bear 
them, either fig or vine or olive ; but for producing 
grain it is so good that it returns as much as two 
hundred fold for the average, and when it bears at its 
best, it produces three hundred fold." 

You had, then, a land which, in constant human 
occupation and with constant and organized attention 
to the details of irrigation, was capable of almost any- 
thing ; but at the same time it was a land which, left to 
itself, went back quickly to wilderness. The parching 
heats of summer withered everything on the Mesopo- 
tamian uplands ; the low levels of Babylonia very 
speedily became marsh if the waters were not regu- 
lated. So, the hand of man being withdrawn or 
checked, both Mesopotamia and Babylonia went back 
to the state in which they were originally, and in which 
we see them now. They became great barren wastes, 
the Mesopotamia!! slopes clad in spring with a brief 
beauty, then parched and desolate for the rest of the 
season, the Babylonian plains covered with swamp and 
jungle, where fever and malaria breed continually. 

The desolation is only accentuated by the melan- 
choly remains of human activity canals choked and 
silted up till they have become fever-beds instead of 
arteries ; huge mounds of rubbish which once were 
great historic cities, towering up above the plain, 
shapeless and unsightly. Before man came the land 
was waste. When he had learned to bridle its rivers 
and to develop its capabilities, it became "as the 
garden of the Lord/' Now that he has lost the grip of 


his first inheritance it has gone back to waste again. 
Yet there can be no doubt that here is a country of 
almost infinite possibilities, and that in the future, 
possibly not a very distant future, the first home of the 
race will again be one of the most fertile and perhaps 
one of the busiest spots in the world. 

There are few things more remarkable than the way 
in which this land which had once been supreme in the 
history of the world, and which for centuries was one 
of the great moulding forces of human story, passed 
almost entirely out of the thought and memory of 
civilized man. We know it, of course, from our 
Bibles. The name of Nineveh, "that great city," and 
the story of Nebuchadnezzar's pride as he looked 
round upon palace and temple and tower, and said, 
" Is not this great Babylon, which I have built ? " 
these things are part of our earliest and unforgettable 
impressions of history. The men who wrote the 
history and the prophecy of the Old Testament did so 
when these lands were living and at the height of their 
glory. They witnessed Assyria trampling down the 
nations and gathering their treasure " as one gathereth 
eggs that are forsaken/' and they saw her fall, exulting 
over the overthrow of Nineveh, whose cruelty had 
passed upon all nations. They saw the second rise of 
Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and lived in the midst 
of its splendours, and beheld them all pass away. 

Then came down midnight. So utterly had the local 
habitation and the name of these great cities vanished 
from the memory of man that 400 years before Christ, 
when Xenophon and the Ten Thousand marched 
through the land after the battle of Cunaxa, they 
passed the ruins of Nineveh and never knew of them, 


and encamped beside the ruins of Kalah, another of the 
mighty cities of Assyria, and spoke of them as "an 
ancient city named Larissa." Wonderful stories and 
legends, of course, still found their place in the minds 
of men about these ancient cities and monarchies, 
legends of Nimrod, of Ninus and Semiramis, and 
of the wonderful palaces and hanging gardens of 
Babylon. But where these cities stood, and what 
had become of their glories, these were things utterly 
forgotten for close on 2000 years. 

"Baby Ion," said Isaiah, long before (Isaiah xiii. 19-22), 
" the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldee's 
excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom 
and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither 
shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation, 
neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there. . . . But the 
wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their 
houses shall be full of doleful creatures ; and owls 
shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there/* And 
Zephaniah (ii. 14) writes thus of the sister city, whose 
fall was earlier : " He will make Nineveh a desolation, 
and dry like the wilderness. The cormorant and the 
bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it. ... This 
is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in 
her heart, I am, and there is none beside me ; how is 
she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down 
in ; every one that passelh by her shall hiss and wag 
his hand." 

Layard thus describes the emotions excited by the 
first contemplation of the desolate heaps which now 
represent the cities of Mesopotamia. After speaking of 
"the stern shapeless mound rising like a hill from 
the scorched plain, the fragments of pottery, and the 



stupendous mass of brickwork occasionally laid bare 
by the winter rains/' he goes on : " He is now at a loss 
to give any form to the rude heaps on which he is gazing. 
Those of whose works they are the remains, unlike the 
Roman and the Greek, have left no visible traces of their 
civilization or their arts ; their influence has long since 
passed away. The scene around is worthy of the ruin 
he is contemplating ; desolation meets desolation ; a 
feeling of awe succeeds to wonder ; for there is nothing 
to relieve the mind, to lead to hope, or to tell of what 
has gone by. These huge mounds of Assyria made a 
deeper impression upon me, gave rise to more serious 
thoughts and more earnest reflection than the temples 
of Baalbec, and the theatres of Ionia." 

How the darkness of centuries was broken, and 
broken mainly, in the first instance, by the man who 
wrote these sentences, we shall see later. Meanwhile 
let us seek to outline what we have gradually come to 
know of the earliest story of the human race in these 
lands; which seems, as far as can be judged, to be 
possibly the earliest story of the human race in the 
world, that is to say as civilized and organized beings. 
Scripture, of course, places the first beginnings of 
human story in this land. The Garden of Eden is 
described in a way which leaves the actual situation 
which the writer was aiming to indicate very vague ; 
but certainly it is in the neighbourhood of the Euphrates, 
which is definitely named as one of the rivers which 
water it ; and the word " Eden " itself is the ordinary 
term for a plain in the Sumerian speech, the oldest 
language existing in this region. So that the Garden of 
Eden simply meant the Garden of the Plain, and the first 
forefathers of our race were believed to have had their 


home in this most fertile spot. The story of the 
Deluge moves in the same region, and the Babylonian 
records preserve a tradition which corresponds almost 
detail for detail with that of Noah and the Ark. 

In Genesis xi. we have the Hebrew tradition of the 
beginnings of organized civilization, with the rise of the 
first city, and the origin of the strifes and jealousies 
which have separated the various nations from one 
another. It is, of course, poetically described, but the 
place where these beginnings occurred and the methods 
adopted by these earliest organizers of the race are 
stated with perfect clearness, and they correspond 
exactly with the conditions existing in Babylonia. 
" It came to pass, as they journeyed from the east that 
they found a plain in the land of Shinar ; and they 
dwelt there. And they said one to another, ' Go to, let 
us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.' And they 
had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 
And they said, ' Go to, let us build us a city and a tower 
whose top may reach unto heaven ; and let us make 
us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face 
of the whole earth/ " 

Here we have the terse and vivid statement of what 
must necessarily have happened when men first began 
to realize their powers, and to organize themselves 
in such a land. The writer of Genesis puts in two 
sentences, as if it were a single act, what no doubt, in 
actual fact, took hundreds or perhaps thousands of 
years to attain. But there and in that fashion there is 
no doubt that cities took their rise and civilization 
began to develop. The fertile plain invited habita- 
tion. Men felt the need of gathering for mutual pro- 
tection against their human enemies or the wild beasts 


which abounded ; and when they cast about as to how 
to build, they found themselves faced by the fact that 
Babylonia produces no building stone. Their build- 
ings had to be reared of the mud of which their land 
was composed ; and, from the dawn of history to its 
close, buildings in Babylonia were of brick, huge 
masses of crude sun-dried mud, cased on the outside 
only with the harder kiln-burned bricks. 

"A city and a tower/' says the writer, and again he 
is true to the facts. The city for protection, and the 
tower for worship. For the characteristic feature of 
Babylonian temple architecture, distinguishing it 
sharply from the Egyptian temples, with their succes- 
sion of chambers on the ground level, is the " Zig- 
gurat/' or temple-tower, rising in successive stages, 
each stage a little less in area than the one beneath it, 
until the shrine on the summit is reached. 

When, then, did this first gathering of human beings 
into organized communities take place, and what was 
the race which took this momentous step? As to 
the question of when, we are hopelessly ignorant. 
Berosus, the old historian of Babylonia, tells us of 
kings before the Deluge who reigned for incredible 
periods 36,000 years in one instance while some 
of his kings after the Deluge come down to compara- 
tively modest spans such as 2400 and 2700 years. It 
is easy to ridicule such wild fancies, but not so easy 
to put facts in their place. Pretty much all that can 
be said is that somewhere about 4000 B.C. we do seem 
to get into touch with actual and unmistakable his- 
toric facts. That date is at least 1500 years before the 
date at which Abraham is believed to have gone forth 
from the land in search of his inheritance. 


But the pioneers had been at work long before that ; 
for the people whom we meet at 4000 B.C. are already 
a highly civilized and organized race. Already they 
had towns of considerable size and importance, each 
with its own great temple tower rising high above the 
houses, and dedicated to the town god. They had a 
system of government, whose unit was not the king- 
dom, but the city-state the city that is, with as much 
territory around it as it could conveniently lay hands 
on and protect from its nearest neighbour the adjoin- 
ing city. At the head of each community was an 
official who called himself, in his inscriptions, the 
"patesi," of his own particular state, and who seems 
to have been, like Melchizedek, a combination of Priest 
and King, 

VThe inhabitants of the city were skilled in various 
trades and professions ; their social fabric was already 
sharply divided into a considerable variety of classes; 
and their pottery and the fragments of their sculpture 
which have survived show us that they were by no 
means unskilled in the fine arts. Most important of 
all, they had already evolved a very complete and 
highly developed system of writing, which in itself 
must have taken centuries to reach the stage at which 
it is first found. It began, no doubt, with pure pic- 
ture-writing, as the Egyptian hieroglyphic system 
began ; but while the Egyptians maintained the pic- 
torial element of their system to the end, developing 
alongside of it the hieratic and demotic systems of 
writing for ordinary purposes, the race in question 
had already when we first meet with their writing, 
got away from any trace of the picture stage. Their 
writing is already the arrow-headed or cuneiform 


It'. A, M(ins<-il t- 


It records his genealogy and conquests, and commemorates the sinking of wells in Shirpurla 


script which persisted right down to the fall of the 
great empires of the ancient East. 
^)The wonderful people who had accomplished all 
this we call now by the name of Sumerians, from their 
own name for one of the divisions of their land. 
Whence they came is unknown. It has been sug- 
gested that they drifted across the mountains from 
Tfidia, and, after settling for a while in Persia, finally 
found their restirg-place in the Babylonian plain ; and 
that the form which they gave their temples, towering 
up like mountains into the sky, may have been due to 
a remembrance of early days among the hills of India 
and Persia. But that is scarcely more than guess- 
work. In fact we only see this people through the 
mists for a short time at the very beginning of things, 
and then they disappear, driven out of their land, or 
brought into subjection by a stronger and more war- 
like race that Semitic people from whom Abraham 
and the Hebrews sprang. We realize a little of the 
conditions under which they lived, and get stray hints 
of their strifes and conquests, the rise of one city-state 
under a strong leader, the depression of another, the 
story of some fierce raid, and that is about all. 

The country was roughly divided into two sections. 
The northern section was called Akkad, and embraced 
such towns as Babylon and Borsippa, both famous in 
later days, while the southern was called Sumer, and 
included Ur the town from which Abraham came 
Lagash or Shirpurla, and Eridu, then, as already men- 
tioned, a seaport, now far inland. 

You are to imagine the land then as dotted all over at 
pretty frequent intervals with fairly important towns. 
Round each town rises a high wall of brick, very thick 


and strong, faced on the outside with the harder kiln- 
burnt bricks. In the centre of the town rises the 
Zigguiat, or Temple-tower. It may have any number 
of stages, from three to seven, according to the wealth 
of the town, or the devoutness of its priest-king. Beside 
it is the palace of the latter, and under the shadow of 
these two great buildings crouch the smaller houses. 
Even in the palace the rooms are long and narrow, for 
the want of stone and timber limits their breadth to the 
length of such roof-beams as can conveniently be pro- 
cured ; and although the Babylonians had already 
learned the principle of the arch, they did not vault 
their buildings, save on a small scale. In the town 
you would find business thoroughly well organized. 
Business documents were written in cuneiform script 
on clay tablets, and when they had been read over, the 
parties to the contract each signed by pressing his 
thumb-nail into the wet clay, which was then dried and 
preserved. Later, engraved seals came into use for 
the purpose of authenticating documents. 

Outside the walls lay a ring of fields, some of them 
private property, some of them common land, but all 
alike paying tithes to the city-god. Beyond the culti- 
vated fields lay the pasture land, which was all held in 
common. The fields were covered with a network of 
canals, which distributed the precious river-water, and 
the whole system of irrigation was carefully regulated 
and supervised. 

As the city grew in importance, the ring of culti- 
vated land extended, and the pastures were pushed 
farther and farther out. By and by they began to 
touch the pastures of the next city-state, and then there 
was trouble. That was the standing ground of quarrel 


in the early East : " And the land was not able to bear 
them, that they might dwell together/' says Genesis of 
Abraham and Lot, "And there was a strife between 
the herdmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdmen 
of Lot's cattle." That strife was already an old story. 
The herdmen having quarrelled, and blood having 
perhaps been spilt, the city militia would be called out 
on both sides, and a battle would ensue, ending in the 
stronger city taking possession of part of its rival's 
fields and shifting the boundary-stones to its own 
profit. Generally the strife did not come to a great 
deal more than this ; but sometimes a more able or 
ambitious patesi would arise in one city, and would 
aim not only at enlarging his fields, but at conquering 
the neighbouring cities. If he were successful, he 
might take on the high sounding title of king, and 
claim, in his inscriptions, a dignity out of all pro- 
portion to the real scale of his achievements. 

We have the story of a whole succession of quarrels 
between two of these city-states, Lagash or Shirpurla, 
which lay on the edge of the southern section of the 
land, and Umma, which looked across at Lagash from 
the northern section. Sometimes Lagash had the best 
of it, and her ruler tells with great swelling words how 
lie had beaten the men of Umma, occupied their fields, 
and set up a new boundary-stone with the terms of 
the new treaty engraved upon it. Then the men of 
Umma would pick up heart again and break the 
boundary-stone, and the old strife would be renewed 
as cheerfully as ever. 

Then Lagash fell into the hands of a patesi named 
Urukagina, who had somehow conceived the extra- 
ordinary idea that government should be in the 


interests of the ordinary taxpayer and the poor man, 
not of the great and wealthy folk. He cut down the 
taxes and the perquisites of the priests, and ruled in 
the interests of the poor, saying proudly of his govern- 
ment that in his reign "to the widow and the orphan 
the strong man did no harm." That, however, was 
not the way to success in those days. The ruler of the 
old enemy, Umma, saw that his chance had come, 
swept down upon Lagash and its peaceful patesi, and 
carried the city with fire and sword. 

Luggal-Zaggisi, the conqueror who thus wiped out 
the state which was too far in advance of its times, 
proudly records that he conquered the lands from the 
rising to the setting sun, and from the Mediterranean 
to the Persian Gulf. We may, perhaps, suspect him 
of exaggeration. Anyhow, we get the other side of 
things, and see in what light he appeared to the men 
of Lagash, from a curious tablet of the time in which 
one of the men of the conquered city unpacks his 
heart in curses. " The men of Umma," he cries, 
" have shed blood in the palace of Tirash, and in the 
shrine of Enlil, and of the Sun-God, and have carried 
away the silver and the precious stones therefrom," 
and so on, enumerating temple after temple which had 
been desecrated. Then he ends his grim recital thus : 
" The men of Umma, by the despoiling of Shirpurla, 
have committed a transgression against the God 
Ningirsu ! The power that is come unto them, from 
them it shall be taken away ! Of transgression on the 
part of Urukagina, King of Girsu, there is none. As 
for Luggal-Zaggisi, patesi of Umma, may his goddess 
Nidaba bear on her head the weight of his trans- 
gression." Human nature was evidently much the 


same 6000 years ago as it is now, and the vanquished 
tried to get even with his conqueror, if not in oneway, 
then in another. 

But the Sumerians, much as they had done for the 
world in those early days were destined to be absorbed 
in greater movements. Not much later than 4000 B.C. 
we find the whole land in the power of the representa- 
tives of the same Semitic race which has given us 
Abraham, Mo^es, and David, and also Mahomet and 
Islam. The Semitic rule makes its appearance in the 
person of an impressive and romantic figure, one of 
the first of the great founders of world-empires. 
Shargani-shar-ali, better known as Sargon, King of 
Akkad. Fortunately we know with a fair amount of 
certainty when he reigned, for the last king of Babylon, 
Nabuna'id, states that when he laid bare the foundation- 
inscription of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon, in the temple 
of Shamash at Sippara, he was informed that Naram- 
Sin had reigned 3200 years before his time. This fixes 
Naram-Sin at about 3750 B.C., and Sargon about 
3800 B-c. ; so that he belongs to about the time of the 
rise of settled government in Egypt. 

Apparently, like many of the great men of history, 
he was of humble and obscure birth. The Chronicle 
of Kish states that " At Akkad, Sharrukin, the gardener, 
warder of the temple of Zamama, became king," But, 
whatever his origin, the impression which he made on 
following ages was great and lasting. When men 
looked back to the beginnings, they saw the figure of 
Sargon standing, great and vague, the first man who 
really counted in their history ; and they honoured him 
accordingly. One of the greatest of Assyrian con- 
querors called himself Sargon also, after this early king, 


and around the name of the first unifier of the land 
there grew up a legend which presents a curious 
parallel to the story of the infancy of Moses. The 
Assyrian scribes of the eighth century B.C. make him 
relate the story of his early days, as follows : 

" Sargon, the powerful king, king of Akkad, am I. 

My mother was of low degree, my father I did not know. 

The brother of my father dwelt in the mountain. 

My city was Azupirani, situate on the bank of the Euphrates. 

My humble mother conceived me ; in secret she brought me forth. 

She placed me in a basket-boat of rushes ; with pitch she closed 

my door. 

She gave me over to the river, which did not rise over me. 
The river bore me along ; to Akki, the irrigator, it carried me. 
Akki, the irrigator, . . . brought me to land, 
Akki, the irrigator, reared me as his own son. 
Akki, the irrigator, appointed me his gardener. 
While I was gardener, Ishtar looked on me with love, 
(Forty ?)-four years I ruled the kingdom. 

This gardener-king was evidently a man of genius 
and force. Not only did he unite Babylonia under his 
rule, but he carried his conquests westwards to the 
Mediterranean, north and east to Armenia and Elam, 
and south to Arabia and the islands of the Persian 
Gulf. His doings were held up as the model for all 
subsequent kings, and if the omens in any reign were 
the same as those under which the great Sargon of 
Akkad had gone forth to victory, any king of Babylon 
or Assyria would march out, confident that success was 

His son, Naram-Sin, has left us one of the finest 
specimens of artistic work which have survived from 
these early days. It is a pillar of victory, sculptured 
with figures in high relief. The King, bow and arrow 
in hand, climbs the slope of a great mountain. Before 


him his enemy falls, stricken through the throat by an 
arrow, which he endeavours to pull out in his mortal 
agony. Behind the King come his soldiers, helmeted, 
and carrying bows, spears, and standards. Overhead 
the sun and stars are shining down upon the victor. 
Babylonian art has left us nothing finer than this early 
effort. (Plate 49.) 

After these two great men, darkness comes down 
for several centuries. A few names of kings, of whom 
we know next to nothing, have survived ; and that is 
practically all. About 3100 B.C., however, our old 
acquaintance the city-state of Lagash or Shirpurla, 
whose early reformer succeeded so badly, appears for 
a little while as the outstanding power in Babylonia, 
and one of its patesis, or priest kings, Gudea, has left 
evidences of the height of culture reached in those 
days which fill us with wonder. The portrait-statues 
of Gudea himself, executed in very hard stone, are 
remarkable and careful pieces of work, though they 
compare somewhat unfavourably with the vigour and 
freedom of the earliest Egyptian work. 

In particular, Gudea has left us a long story of how 
he came to build the great temple, E-ninnu, of Lagash, 
He tells us how the gods took counsel as to the cause 
of a time of drought which had fallen upon the land, 
and resolved that it was necessary to have a fitting 
temple built in the city. So there came to Gudea a 
vision from Heaven while he slept. He saw a man 
whose stature was so great that he reached to the 
heavens. On his head was a crown, and by his side 
was the eagle which was the crest of the city oi 
Lagash; his feet rested upon the whirlwind, and 2 
lion crouched on either side of him. He spoke to th< 


patesi, but Gudea did not understand his words. 
Then as the sun rose he saw a woman holding in her 
hand a reed and a tablet on which was a star ; and 
while he gazed at her he saw a second man, like a 
warrior, who carried a tablet of lapis lazuli, and on it 
he drew out the plan of a temple. 

So when Gudea awoke, he took counsel of the gods, 
and, when the dream had been explained to him, he 
set to work to build the temple whose plan he had 
seen in his vision. He tells how he gathered materials 
from all lands, cedar from the mountain of cedars 
(Lebanon ?), porphyry from Sinai, and copper from 
the land of Kimash ; and how at last, when the temple 
was complete, the favour of the gods was shown, 
and the waters rose in the canals, and the land 
brought forth its fruits until the city was satiated with 

Gudea's story, however, is only a brief flash of light 
in the darkness. We know that first one city and then 
another rose for a time to supremacy, and that Elamite 
invaders conquered and held the land for a time. And 
then, about 2300 B.C., there rises another great figure, 
one of the men who mould human history and keep 
the world moving onwards a man also who, if some 
scholars are right, came into close contact with 
Abraham, and, great as he was, found the contact not 
at all to his advantage. 

In Genesis xiv. we read how "Amraphel, king of 
Shinar, Arioch, king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, king 
of Elam, and Tidal, king of Goiim " made war on the 
kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, who had rebelled 
against their overlord Chedorlaomer, how Abraham's 
nephew Lot was captured by them, and how the 

i. si \rt F ni r.rni-A {/, gi ) 

Fuun tht* ft in the L^iure 

M UT, Hl'\l> S\K<iO\ Ol \KK\h ( /. 89) 

i'uiin list 1 iiiiuinal in thr llriii\li AIusruiM 


Patriarch rescued Lot and defeated the invaders. Now 
these kings may possibly be identified with actual kings 
of the time. Tidal, king of Goiim, may be Thargal of 
Gutium, Arioch of Ellasar may be Rim-sin of Larsam, 
whose name may also be read Eri-aku ; Chedorlaomer 
is simply Kudur Lagamar, a good Elamite name. 

There remains Amraphel, king of Shinar, who is the 
most interesting figure of all, if, as seems not unlikely, 
he is to be identified with Hammurabi, king of Babylon, 
the first great law-giver of the world whose laws have 
come down to us. At the time of the invasion of 
Palestine it seems as though he and the others were 
vassals of the Elamite Chedorlaomer. Perhaps the 
defeat sustained at Abraham's hands weakened the 
Elamite king's authority. At all events we find Ham- 
murabi firmly seated on the throne of Babylon by 
about 2297 B.C. Notwithstanding the unfortunate 
incident with Abraham, he was a great conqueror, 
subduing the Elamites, and asserting his dominion 
over the whole of Babylonia and Mesopotamia; but 
he was far more. He was one of the first of all kings 
to understand that a king's glory is to be the father of 
his people. And so in his inscriptions, while we read 
of successful wars, we hear far more of canals dug, and 
temples restored and city-walls built, while his favourite 
titles are " Builder of the Land," and " King of 

His great memorial is the famous Code of Laws of 
which a copy, engraved on stone, was found by 
M. de Morgan at Susa, and is now in the Louvre. 
(Plate 20.) Hammurabi begins his code with a little 
bit of .self-glorification, perhaps not unwarranted. " I 
am the pastor, the saviour, whose sceptre is a right one, 


the good protecting shadow over my city ; in my breast 
I cherish the inhabitants of Sumer and Akkad. By my 
genius in peace I have led them, by my wisdom I have 
directed them, that the strong might not injure the 
weak, to protect the widow and orphan. . . . By the 
command of Shamash (the Sun-god), the great Judge 
of Heaven and Earth, let righteousness go forth in the 
land. . . , Let the oppressed who has a case at law 
come and stand before my image as King of Righteous- 
ness, let him read the inscription, and understand my 
precious words. The inscribed stone will explain his 
case to him, and make clear the law to him, and his 
heart, well-pleased, will say, ' Hammurabi is a master, 
who is as the father who begat his people !' " 

Then follow 282 sections regulating almost every 
conceivable incident and relationship of life. Not 
only are the great crimes dealt with and penalized ; 
life is regulated down to its most minute details. 
There are marriage laws and breach of promise laws, 
laws for the guardianship of the widow and the 
orphan, irrigation laws, anticipations of modern land 
legislation, providing that if land is not cultivated the 
holder must give account and pay compensation, and 
licensing laws which would rather surprise " the trade " 
at the present day. "If a wine merchant has allowed 
riotous characters to assemble in her house, and those 
riotous characters has not seized and driven them to 
the palace, that wine merchant shall be put to death." 

No such complete regulation of the affairs of human 
life was known elsewhere in ancient days ; nor indeed, 
it may be said, till Roman law asserted its power over 
the world. Of course it does not follow that the 
glory of all this legislation belongs to Hammurabi, 


who, in all probability, was merely the codifier of laws 
already existing. Still, his honour, even on that foot- 
ing, is not small, and the revelation which his code 
gives us of a well-ordered and highly disciplined com- 
munity is simply amazing. To us the time of Abraham 
seems almost incredibly distant, and we can scarcely 
bring ourselves to believe that civilized life was actually 
possible then ; but the code of Hammurabi is suffi- 
cient to assure us that in Babylonia, at all events, 
life in Abraham's days was practically as thoroughly 
organized and as carefully regulated as it is in our 



THE great law-giver of Babylonia, Hammurabi, founded 
an empire which endured through five subsequent 
reigns, and closed about 200 years after the advent of 
its first founder. .The steady average length of the 
reigns speaks of the permanence and stability of the 
work which had been done by]the great and wise man 
who had united all the wrangling communities of 
Babylonia into a single strong State. But no human 
work can endure for ever, and the first empire of 
Babylonia was no exception to the rule. It suffered 
the fate common to most early empires. The more 
highly cultured and advanced and more peaceful 
people was overwhelmed by the descent of a ruder 
and more warlike race, who had envied the wealth 
and prosperity of their neighbours. 

The conquering race, in this instance, was one of 
those wild mountain peoples who occupied the hill- 
country between the Caspian Sea and the Persian 
Gulf. Finding a footing on the Babylonian plain 
near the mouth of the rivers, they gradually advanced, 
until their chief ascended the throne of Babylon and 
set up a new dynasty. The way, however, had been 
prepared for them by the fierce raid of the Hittites, in 
which Babylon was taken and sacked (sec chapter xiv). 
They were called the Kassites, and for over 570 years 




oi- r.A'n'LK ( //. go e^' 91 ) 


they ruled over Babylonia, but a Babylonia that was no 
longer as it had once been, the one great power in the 
world of the ancient Orient. A new power had begun 
to rise above the horizon, and from now onwards, with 
occasional intervals of weakness and decline, this power 
strides like a Colossus over the whole of the ancient 
world, terrifying the nations by its remorseless cruelty, 
and crushing down all opposition and all national 
aspirations by the ruthless force of one of the most 
tremendous implements of warfare ever forged by the 
hand of man. 

With the possible exception of the Huns, or the 
wild hordes of Tamerlane, there has probably never 
existed, in the history of the world, a power so purely 
and solely destructive, so utterly devoid of the slightest 
desire to make any real contribution to the welfare of 
the human race, as Assyria. But the Huns and the 
hordes of Tamerlane were untaught savages. In the 
case of Assyria you have a highly organized and civi- 
lized people, skilled to an astounding degree in the 
arts, with all the power to do great things for humanity, 
but absolutely deficient in the will. If you can ima- 
gine a man with no small amount of learning, with all 
the externals of civilization, with a fine taste in certain 
aspects of art, and a tremendous aptitude for organiza- 
tion and discipline, and then imagine such a man 
imbued with the ruthless spirit of a Red Indian brave 
and an absolute delight in witnessing the most ghastly 
forms of human suffering, you will have a fairly accu- 
rate conception of the ordinary Assyrian, king or 
commoner; the outside, a splendid specimen of 
highly developed humanity the inside a mere ravening 



There have been other great conquering races which 
could be cruel enough on occasion, but at least they 
contributed something to the sum of human knowledge 
or achievement. The Roman Empire, for instance, 
ruthless as were its methods often, was actually a great 
boon to the world. Assyria made no such contribution 
to human life. Totally lacking in originality, she took 
her art, her language, her literature, and her science 
from the elder Babylonian race upon which she waged 
such constant war. She created nothing ; she existed 
simply to destroy ; and when she ceased to destroy, 
she was destroyed. In a word, she was the scourge of 
God, or, as Isaiah put it, with his vivid insight, her 
function in the world was just to be God's axe and 
saw to do the rough hewing that Providence needed 
for the shaping of the race. 

Early in their history the Babylonians seem to have 
sent a colony north-westwards up the rivers into the 
land of Mesopotamia. There the colonists founded a 
city which they called Assur, after their god Ashur, 
In the time of Hammurabi Assur was still merely a 
colony of Babylonia, and subject to the empire. In 
the less luxurious uplands of Mesopotamia the race 
had no temptation to degeneracy. Warfare with their 
wild neighbours from the hills, and warfare even more 
constant with the wild beasts, the lions and elephants, 
which abounded in the district, kept them hardy and 
bold, and welded them together into a people capable 
of and ready for great achievements should the oppor- 
tunity arise. It came with the Kassite conquest of 
Babylonia. The familiar rule of their mother-city was 
broken, and they owed no allegiance, but rather the 
reverse, to the conquerors. The patesis of Assur threw 


off the yoke of Babylon, called themselves kings, and 
established a kingdom which speedily became a 
formidable rival to the more ancient southern State. 

Five centuries or so ensued, filled with more or less 
constant strife and bickering between the two States. 
In the meantime, Egypt, under the great soldier 
Pharaohs of the XVII Ith Dynasty, took advantage of 
the divisions of the only two powers that could have 
resisted her conquest of all Palestine and Syria, and 
pushed her empire as far as to the banks of the 
Euphrates. In the letters of the time which have 
been preserved (the Tell-el-Amarna Tablets) it is inter- 
esting and amusing to see the eagerness with which 
the Kings of Assyria, Babylonia, and Mitanni plead 
for recognition by the Egyptian Pharaoh, each striving 
to impress upon the great king the value of his own 
friendship and the worthlessness of his neighbour's. 
Pharaoh of Egypt is the dominating figure of the 
whole world at this stage, and the kings of the East, 
whatever their private pride, are, in their public cor- 
respondence, his very humble and obedient servants. 
The balance of power, however, was to be readjusted 
before long. 

The first king of Assyria to realize anything of the 
destiny of his State was Shalmaneser I., who reigned 
about 1300 B.C. The name is, of course, familiar to 
us from the Bible, but this is a very much earlier 
Shalmaneser than the Scriptural one. It was a turning- 
point in the world's history when this man realized 
that the time was come for Assyria to expand west- 
wards, instead of wasting her strength in bickerings 
with Babylonia. He carried the Assyrian standards 
across the Euphrates, and began that interference 


with the affairs of the Western nations which we can 
trace in later days throughout Bible history. Inci- 
dentally, he removed the capital of his kingdom from 
Assur further up the Tigris to Kalah, where he began 
the great buildings whose ruins Layard partially exca- 
vated, imagining that he was dealing with Nineveh. 
He called himself King of the World/' and the title 
is a testimony to the lust for universal dominion which 
was beginning to arise in Assyria. But for a time his 
advance was not followed up ; and it is not till the 
reign of Tiglath-Pileser I., about noo B.C., that we see 
the Assyrian in the full tide of conquest. 

This great soldier passed nearly the whole of his 
reign in ceaseless warfare. In his first five years he 
conquered practically all the tribes from the upper 
Tigris and Lake Van right round to the shores of the 
Mediterranean. Turning from these western con- 
quests, and provoked by an ill-advised raid of the 
Babylonian king, he swept down upon Babylonia, 
defeated her armies, captured her chief cities, and left 
her shaken and discredited. How long he reigned is 
not certain ; but he thus records his achievements, 
with well-warranted pride : " I conquered in all, from 
the beginning of my reign to my fifth regnal year, 
forty-two countries and their princes, from the left 
bank of the lower Zab and the border of the distant 
forest-clad mountains as far as the right bank of the 
Euphrates, the land of the Khatti and the Upper Sea 
of the Setting Sun." 

There is no need to wade through the dreary story 
of Assyrian conquest, save where we find it touching 
upon the Scripture records. King after king repeats, 
with monotonous reiteration, the story of endless cam- 


From the Stele with the law code in the Louvre 


paigns all marked by the same ruthless slaughter, the 
same ghastly cruelty, and the same lack of permanent 
results. Apparently it was quite impossible for an 
Assyrian king to be a peaceful sovereign. His State 
lived by and for the army alone, and if he did not give 
the army successful employment he was quickly mur- 
dered and made way for some one who would lead the 
troops to conquest and plunder. 

Take, as a single specimen of an Assyrian conqueror, 
Ashur-natsir-pal III., whose magnificent palace at 
Kalah, with its alabaster slabs exquisitely carved in 
relief, was excavated by Layard in the forties of last 
century. The slabs are now one of the glories of the 
British Museum, where also the statue of the great 
conqueror stands (Plate 21). We have the record of 
eighteen years of his reign : there is scarcely a year in 
which he was not at war ; and this is the kind of war he 
made : " To the city of Tela I approached. The city 
was very strong; three fortress- walls surrounded it. 
The inhabitants trusted to their strong walls and their 
numerous army ; they did not come down or embrace 
my feet. With battle and slaughter I attacked the city 
and captured it. Three thousand of their fighting men 
I slew with the sword ; their spoil, their goods, their 
oxen, and their sheep I carried away ; many captives 
I burned with fire. I captured many of their soldiers 
alive ; I cut off the hands and feet of some ; of others 
I cut off the 'noses, the ears, and the fingers ; I put out 
the eyes of many soldiers. I built up a pyramid of 
the living and a pyramid of heads. On high I hung 
up their heads on trees in the neighbourhood of their 
city. Their young men and their maidens I burned 
with fire. The city I overthrew, dug it up, and burned 


it with fire ; I annihilated it" The imagination is 
staggered at the very thought of that pyramid of the 
living human beings piled one upon another, suffo- 
cating, strangling, perishing slowly and miserably 
before that other pyramid of their more fortunate 
friends to whom death had come swiftly, and at the 
thought of the monster who not only did this, but 
gloried in it, and caused the story of his brutality to 
be written indelibly upon the walls of his house. 

But this is not the whole of the picture. Side by 
side with this ruthless monster you have to place the 
other aspect of his nature, where you see him, a great 
and lordly gentleman, with a notable taste for the fine 
arts, planning and executing some of the most mag- 
nificent of buildings. His great palace of Kalah stood 
350 feet square on a high platform facing the temple 
which he had built to the god Ninib. In its centre 
was a court measuring 125 feet by 100. Round this 
court were grouped the innumerable rooms and gal- 
leries of the great palace, chief among them the throne 
room, which measured 154 feet by 33. The curious 
narrowness of the chambers is very noticeable, showing 
the continued prevalence of the old Babylonian tradi- 
tion, which was due to lack of good building stone 
and scarcity of timber. 

Round each room ran a range of sculptured ala- 
baster slabs, showing the king at war, at the hunt, 
fording the river, or marching through the mountains ; 
while all the cruel details of his merciless warfare were 
represented to the life. Inscriptions ran along the 
slabs, giving practically a history of the king's reign 
from year to year. The narrow galleries were roofed 
with cedar beams, decorated with gold, silver, and 


bronze, and gay with colour. At the doorways stood 
monstrous figures of winged man-headed bulls or 
lions, head and shoulders carefully wrought out as 
though the creatures were leaping out of the walls, the 
rest left only suggested in outline. These were the 
divine spirits which guarded the entrance to the king's 
house. Ashur-natsir-pal thus describes his own 
palace: "A palace for my royal dwelling-place, for 
the glorious seat of my royalty, I founded for ever, 
and splendidly planned ii ; I surrounded it with a 
cornice of copper. Sculptures of the creatures of land 
and sea carved in alabaster I made, and placed them 
at the doors. Lofty door-posts of cedar-wood I made, 
and sheathed them with copper, and set them upon 
the gates. Thrones of costly woods, dishes of ivory 
containing silver, gold, lead, copper, and iron, the 
spoil of my hand, taken from conquered lands, I 
deposited therein." 

Such was a great Assyrian monarch on the evidence 
of his own records, which there is no reason to doubt ; 
surely the strangest combination of absolute brute 
savagery and luxurious and artistic taste that has ever 
walked this earth. Multiply Ashur-natsir-pal by the 
dozen, and you have some idea of the misery and the 
slaughter for which the great Assyrian Empire was 
responsible during a period of at least 500 years. 

Ashur-natsir-pal was succeeded by Shalmaneser 
II. (860-825 B.C.), first of the Assyrian kings who 
make mention of Israel in their inscriptions. He 
reigned for thirty-five years, and during that time he 
commanded in thirty-two campaigns, which gives an 
idea of how much spare time for peaceful industry was 
left to the Assyrian State. As a matter of fact, Assyria 


Jived upon spoil. She was simply the greatest of all 
robber communities, and her staple industry was 
plundering the unlucky peoples who were rich 
enough to excite her envy and too weak to resist her 

It is on the famous Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser, 
set up by him in his palace at Kalah, that we have the 
record of these expeditions and come into touch with 
familiar Scriptural figures. By this time (840 B.C.) the 
kingdom of Israel had passed from the hands of Omri 
and Ahab to the usurper Jehu, who had slain Ahab's 
successor Joram. After long and valiant resistance to 
the Assyrian power, the kingdom of Damascus, under 
Hazael, had been overrun by Shalmaneser, and 
part of the sculpture of the obelisk shows the 
figures of the various kings who brought tribute to the 
victor.* Among them is the figure of Jehu, who is 
seen on the second column of the obelisk, " smelling 
the ground " before the victorious Assyrian. The 
inscription referring to him reads: "The tribute of 
Yahua the son of Khtimri (Jehu the son of Omri), 
silver, gold, bowls of gold, chalices of gold, cups of 
gold, pails of gold, lead, sceptres for the hand of the 
king, spear-shafts." That Jehu should be called "son 
of Omri," when as a matter of fact he was the exter- 
minator of the dynasty which Omri established, shows 
the impression which had been made upon the outside 
world by the vigour and ability of the founder of 

After the reign of Shalmaneser the kingdom entered 
upon a period of decline and exhaustion. A purely 
military State, such as Assyria, must naturally be 

* Damascus itself, however, was not captured on this occasion. 


subject to such declensions. Her strength is drained, 
her armies are worn out by their very conquests ; she 
has to take a generation or two to recover. So nearly 
a century of obscurity passes, and then there arises in 
Assyria another of these terrible men whose fame is 
built on slaughter. This time it is a new Tiglath- 
Pileser, the fourth of the name. An usurper, to all 
appearance, he reigned with great vigour and military 
skill for eighteen years, during which time he came 
more than once into contact with Israel and Judah. 

In II Kings xv. 19 we are informed that " Pul the 
King of Assyria came against the land ; and Menahem 
gave Pul a thousand talents of silver that his hand 
might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his 
hand/ 1 Pul, or Pulu, is now known to have been the 
throne-name which Tiglath-Pileser assumed as King of 
Babylonia on his conquest of Babylon, and Menahem's 
tribute duly appears in an inscription of Tiglath- 
Pileser dating from 738 B.C. as tribute from " Menahem 
of Samaria." 

Before long, however, Tiglath-Pileser gained a 
specious pretext for interfering in the affairs of Pales- 
tine. An alliance, consisting of Pekah of Israel, Rezin 
of Damascus, Hanno of Gaza, and the King of Edom, 
had been formed for the purpose, no doubt, of resist- 
ing Assyrian aggression. The allies made war upon 
Ahaz of Judah, for what reason we do not know, 
though it has been suggested that their object was to 
force Judah into the alliance. Ahaz resolved to take 
the desperate step of calling in the lion to help him 
against the jackals, and appealed to the Assyrian king 
for help. Isaiah (Isaiah vii.) warned him urgently 
against such a fatal step. If he left things alone, the 


prophet said, there was no need to be afraid of these 
" two stumps of smoking firebrands/' as he contemp- 
tuously called Pekah and Rezin. Let him wait and 
trust in God, and all would be well. But " if ye will 
not believe, surely ye shall not be established." 

Ahaz would not, or could not believe. He sent an 
embassy to Tiglath-Pileser, and the Assyrian, only too 
glad of a pretext, poured his armies down upon Syria 
and Israel. For three years the Assyrians campaigned 
in Syria and Palestine. Rezin was slain and Damascus 
captured, Pekah was murdered, and his successor 
appointed, by instigation of the Assyrian, and part of 
the population of the northern kingdom was carried 
into captivity. "Pekah I slew/' says Tiglath-Pileser 
briefly, "I appointed Hoshea over them/' Judahwas 
thus freed from her enemies ; but only at the cost of 
her own freedom. A clay tablet in the British Museum 
records the tribute of Ahaz, King of Judah, who had 
evidently found it easier to call in the conqueror than 
to get rid of him. 

Hoshea of Israel proved loyal to his overlord as 
long as Tiglath-Piieser lived ; but on his death he 
rebelled, hoping to take advantage of the confusion 
incident upon a change of sovereigns in the East, and 
expectant of help from Egypt ; but Egypt was no 
longer the power she had once been, and could give 
no effective help. The new Assyrian King Shal- 
maneser IV. advanced rapidly on Samaria, and, finding 
the city too strong to be taken by assault, he 
blockaded it. For three years it held out ; but at last 
it was captured and destroyed. During the siege, 
Shalmaneser died, and was succeeded by Sargon, 
who swept away the flower of the northern kingdom 


into captivity. Israel ceased to exist as a nation, and 
the ten tribes became the lost ten tribes. 

Sargon, the captor of Samaria, is only mentioned 
once in Scripture (Isaiah xx. i), and then only casually. 
Nothing more was known of him until recent years, 
and his existence was regarded as somewhat prob- 
lematical. The French excavations at Khorsabad, 
however, have not only proved his actuality, but have 
shown that he was one of the greatest and most 
powerful of Assyrian monarchs. His great palace was 
the centre of a town which he called after his own 
name Dur-Sharrukin, or as we would call it, " Sargon- 
Burgh." On the palace walls, guarded by the usual 
winged and human-headed bulls and lions, are the 
records of campaign after campaign, with the usual 
details of merciless cruelty, flaying alive and blinding 
of captives, impaling of victims before besieged towns, 
and all the ether atrocities of Assyrian warfare. The 
palace and town the latter capable of holding a 
population of at least 80,000 people have been 
wonderfully reconstructed from the results of the 
excavations, and the reconstruction gives a remarkable 
revelation of the artistic skill and power of the 
Assyrians at the very height of their splendour, when 
they had conquered Babylon, and humbled the pride 
af Egypt in the great battle of Raphia. 

Sargon himself did not long survive to enjoy the 
splendours of his new city. Shortly after its com- 
pletion he met with a violent death, whether in battle 
or by assassination is not certain, and his death cleared 
the way for the accession of his son Sennacherib, 
perhaps the most widely famous of all Assyrian 
monarchs. For us, of course, Sennacherib is the 


Assyrian who "came down like a wolf on the fold/' 
and we think of him chiefly as the assailant of Judah, 
whose pride was so mysteriously brought low by the 
great disaster recorded in II Kings xix. 35. "The 
angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of 
the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand ; 
and when they arose early in the morning, behold 
they were all dead corpses." As a matter of fact, 
however, Sennacherib's dealings with Hezekiah of 
Judah were but a small portion of a vast campaign, 
and the disaster which happened to his army, perfectly 
accurately recorded in Scripture, took place not near 
Jerusalem, but down on the frontier of Egypt. 

What actually happened seems, so far as can be 
judged, to have been somewhat as follows : With the 
accession of the new Assyrian king came, as always, 
rebellion among the subject States. Egypt was busy in 
the background with promises of help, never to be 
realized, and all the Syrian States, including Judah, 
revolted. Sennacherib marched into Palestine, ravag- 
ing and destroying, laid siege to Ekron, and when the 
Egyptian army advanced to its relief, utterly defeated 
it at the battle of Altaku. Meanwhile Hezekiah had 
been making feverish preparations for defence against 
the storm which was about to burst upon him. He 
repaired the walls of Jerusalem, and in order to secure 
that the waters of the spring Gihon should be secured 
for the city and not left for the besiegers, he dug the 
tunnel on the side of the south-east hill of Jerusalem, 
referred to in the Siloam Inscription (see chapter ii.) 

Sennacherib, fresh from his victory over the 
Egyptians, sat down before Lachish, besieged and 
took it. While he was thus engaged, Hezekiah's heart 



i n _ i > \ i III I / l n I 


failed him, and he sent his submission to the Assyrian 
king as recorded in II Kings xviii. 13-16, paying a heavy 
tribute as the price of safety. Sennacherib, however, 
evidently doubted Hezekiah's faithfulness, and sent a 
division of his army, under a political officer, the Rab- 
Shakeh, with a demand for surrender. But on this 
occasion Hezekiah, encouraged by Isaiah, refused to 
yield any farther than he had already done, and Isaiah 
bade the king return a scornful and defiant answer, 
giving Hezekiah the assurance that the Assyrian should 
never even succeed in investing the city. 

So it came to pass. The conqueror had more 
important things to think of than the immediate 
destruction of a small and obscure city like Jerusalem. 
Jerusalem's turn would come in due time ; meanwhile 
it could wait. So he marched with the main army 
straight on Egypt, leaving a division to mask Jerusalem. 
He encamped at Pelusium, on the Egyptian frontier, 
and everything was ready for a great battle which 
would have decided the fate of the ancient world. 
And then some terrible obscure disaster the legend 
that links it with mice suggests that it may have been 
an outbreak of the bubonic plague overtook the 
Assyrian army. Sennacherib had to retreat with the 
broken remnants of his force, to call in his column 
from before Jerusalem, and to return discomfited to 
Nineveh. So Jerusalem was saved, as Isaiah had 

Sennacherib's own account of the campaign against 
Judah is as follows : " But Hezekiah of Jerusalem, who 
had not submitted to me, 46 of his walled towns, 
numberless forts and small places in their neighbour- 
hood I invested and took by means of battering-rams 


and the assault of scaling-ladders, the attack of foot- 
soldiers, mines, and breaches. 200,150, great and 
small, men and women, horses, mules, asses, camels, 
oxen, and sheep without number I carried off from 
them and counted as spoil. Hezekiah himself I shut 
up like a bird in a cage in Jerusalem his royal city. I 
raised forts about him, and the exits of the chief gate 
of his city I barred. . . . Himself the fear of my 
august Lordship overpowered. The Arabians and his 
faithful ones, whom he had brought in for the defence 
of Jerusalem his royal city, fell away. Along with 
30 talents of gold and 800 of silver, precious stones, 
carbuncles, kassii stones, great pieces of lapis lazuli, 
ivory thrones, elephant hides and tusks, ushu wood, 
boxwood, all sorts of things, a huge treasure, and his 
own daughters, the womenfolk of his palace, men and 
women singers he brought after me to Nineveh, the 
city of my Lordship ; and for the payment of the 
tribute and to do homage he dispatched his envoy." 
(Taylor Cylinder Inscription.) 

This inscription bears out perfectly the account 
given in II Kings xviii. 13-16 : " Now in the fourteenth 
year of King Hezekiah did Sennacherib, King of 
Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, 
and took them. And Hezekiah King of Judah sent to 
the King of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended : 
return from me ; that which thou puttest upon me I 
will bear. And the King of Assyria appointed unto 
Hezekiah King of Judah three hundred talents of 
silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave 
him all the silver that was found in the house of the 
Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house. At 
that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors 


of the temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which 
Hezekiah King of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to 
the King of Assyria. 1 ' But while both records are at 
one as to the straits to which Hezekiah was reduced, 
the Assyrian inscription makes no claim with regard 
to the capture of Jerusalem ; and its silence is quite as 
eloquent as a direct statement that Jerusalem was not 
captured would have been. 

The Book of Kings records the death of the great 
enemy of Judah in these terms (II Kings xix. 36-37) : 
" So Sennacherib King of Assyria departed, and went 
and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to 
pass as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch 
his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons 
smote him with the sword ; and they escaped into the 
land of Armenia. And Esar-haddon his son reigned 
in his stead/' Placed as it is immediately after the 
story of his disaster, this would lead us to suppose that 
the assassination took place immediately after his 
return from Palestine. As a matter of fact, however, 
something like twenty years elapsed between the one 
event and the other ; and in the interval Sennacherib 
had fought many battles and made many conquests. 
Once more, like Sargon, he had conquered Babylon, 
and had utterly destroyed that ancient city, turning 
the waters of a canal across its site ; while it was he 
who really made Nineveh the focus of Assyrian power 
and so identified it with the fortunes of the nation 
that to name Assyria is to bring up the thought of 

He left Nineveh, indeed, "that great city." The 
circuit of its massive walls was about seven miles, 
while outside the walls of the fortress-town itself the 


city suburbs stretched far into the country. The walls 
themselves were loo feet high, and averaged 50 feet in 
thickness, while at the gates this was doubled. Eighteen 
mountain-streams poured their waters into the town, 
ensuring a constant supply. Even to-day the palace 
of Nineveh has only been partially explored ; but the 
seventy-one rooms which have been excavated show 
that Sennacherib's splendid home was the greatest of 
all Assyrian palaces, while the artistic excellence of 
the wall-sculptures is remarkable. All this greatness 
came, however, to a disastrous end in 681 B.C., when, 
like so many Assyrian monarchs, Sennacherib fell 
before the sword of the assassin. 

In the scramble for power which, as usual, followed 
the murder, Esar-haddon, as Scripture states, was suc- 
cessful ; his brothers fled to Armenia and he ascended 
the throne. Under his strong but temperate rule 
Assyria attained the summit of her ambition by the 
conquest of Egypt. This was overdue ; for Egypt's 
interference in the affairs of Palestine and Syria had 
been as constant and vexatious as it was impotent. 
Isaiah had long since warned his fellow-countrymen 
of the helplessness of the once great southern power 
against the Assyrians. " Egypt helpeth in vain and to 
no purpose ; therefore have I called her ' Rahab that 
sitteth still/ " That helplessness was now to be proved. 

Taharqa (Tirhakah of Scripture) the Ethiopian 
Pharaoh of Egypt, had intrigued, as his predecessors 
for generations had done, against Assyrian supremacy 
in Syria and Palestine. At this time, according to 
Esar-haddon's annals, twenty-two kings of Canaan were 
subject to him, including Manasseh of Judah. He 
could not afford to allow Taharqa a free hand in such a 



promising hot-bed of sedition. So by 670 B.C. he had 
made his preparations for dealing with Egypt once 
and for all. The Assyrian army marched down the 
old war-road, and after a long and desperate struggle, 
in which the Assyrians were repulsed at least once, 
Taharqa was beaten, Memphis, the old capital, was 
taken, and Egypt was reduced, for the time, to the 
status of an Assyrian province. Esar-haddon pro- 
claimed himself with pride ' King of the kings of 
Egypt ' ; but within the year Taharqa came back from 
Ethiopia again, and undid all that the conqueror had 
done. Esar-haddon got his troops on the march from 
Nineveh again, but sickness overtook him on the way 
and he died, leaving the work of conquest to his son 

It was thoroughly done (663 B.C.). Taharqa was 
once more beaten and driven into Ethiopia, where he 
died, and when his son Tanutamen, or Tandamani as 
the Assyrians called him, raised the standard of revolt 
again, Ashurbanipal completely crushed him, and made 
an end of Egypt's pretensions to rivalry with Assyria. 
Even Thebes, the great sacred city of the land, never 
before violated by the tread of foreign foes, fell before 
the irresistible Assyrian army, and Ashurbanipal and 
his troops returned in triumph 'with full hands/ as 
he says, to Nineveh. The fall of Thebes made a pro- 
found impression upon the ancient world. Egypt's 
ancient fame had cast a glamour upon men's minds 
which still obsessed them long after her real power 
had passed away. Nobody believed that she could 
ever be actually conquered, and when the impossible 
happened, and Thebes fell before the Assyrians, the 
whole world was amazed. 


You catch the reflection of the general astonishment 
in the words of the prophet Nahum (iii. 8). Prophe- 
sying the fall of Nineveh, he compares her with Thebes, 
which had so lately fallen. ' Art thou better/ he says, 
1 than No-Amon (Thebes), that was situate among the 
rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose 
rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the 
sea? Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and 
it was infinite. Put and Lubim were thy helpers. 
Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity ; 
her young children also were dashed in pieces at 
the top of all the streets; and they cast lots for 
her honourable men, and all her great men were 
bound in chains/" Such was the miserable fate 
of the greatest of ancient capitals in those cruel 
days. Such before long was to be the fate of Nineveh 

From slaughter in Egypt Ashurbanipal turned cheer- 
fully to slaughter in Babylonia. A great war arose 
with the old enemy Elam, and, in a fierce battle at 
Tulliz, the Elamite king Teumman was beaten and 
slain. The famous reliefs representing the principal 
events of the battle give us the clearest possible pic- 
tures of Assyrian warfare with all its ghastly cruelty. 
We see the stress of the conflict the Elamite king 
making his final despairing stand and shooting his last 
arrow against his triumphant foes. Then follows all 
the brutal savagery of victory. The king's head is 
hacked off with a dagger and borne in triumph before 
his conquerors. And then we have a picture of Ashur- 
banipal feasting with his wife and attendants in the 
garden of his palace r while from a tree before him 
hangs the ghastly head of the dead Elamite king, 


blackening in the sun. Such was an Assyrian con- 
queror and such were his pleasures. 

Yet withal Ashurbanipal was one of the most 
enlightened of Assyrian monarchs. He had a great 
taste for literature, and in this respect we owe him an 
infinite debt. His scribes were commanded by him 
to make copies of the annals of Babylonia and Assyria 
from the libraries of all the most important cities in 
the land, and it i.i from these copies, made on clay 
tablets and preserved in the library of the king's 
palace, that the bulk of what is known of Assyrian and 
Babylonian history and religion has been learned. 
By the year 640 B.C. his campaigns were over. Hence- 
forth he devoted himself to a life of literature, hunting, 
and luxury. Of all Assyrian monarchs he was by 
far the most splendid. His triumphs in the chase 
are recorded in magnificent reliefs which remain for 
all time among the artistic treasures of the human 
race ; his library was the greatest of ancient days, 
and its very wrecks are beyond comparison precious 

to us. 

It was his luxury, however, that chiefly impressed 
the world of his time. The fame of it crystallized at 
last into the well-known Greek tradition of how 
Sardanapalus, last of the Kings of Assyria, lived a life 
of incredible luxury and self-indulgence, and how at 
last, when besieged in his palace and hopeless of 
relief, he closed his career by erecting a vast and price- 
less funeral pyre, on which he burned himself to death 
with all his harem and his personal attendants. 
Sardanapalus is certainly meant for Ashurbanipal, seen 
through Greek spectacles ; but he met with no such 
end. So far as we know, he did what few Assyrian 


Kings managed to do ; he died peacefully in his own 
palace. The Greek tradition has merely confused his 
fate with that of his second son Sin-shar-ishkun, the 
last King of Assyria, who did burn himself in his palace 
after defeat. 

All the same the reign of Ashurbanipal closes the 
glories of Nineveh. The great bully who had bestridden 
the ancient world for five centuries, slaughtering, 
torturing, robbing and boasting, was now to fall, and 
to fall irremediably. For generations the Assyrian had 
boasted himself master of the world. Isaiah has 
summed up his bluster and braggart spirit in a couple 
of verses (Isaiah x. 13, 14). " For he saith : By the 
strength of my hand I have done it; and by my wisdom; 
for I am prudent ; and I have removed the bounds of 
the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I 
have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man ; and 
my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people ; 
and as one gathereth eggs that are forsaken, have I 
gathered all the earth ; and there was none that moved 
the wing or opened the mouth, or chirped." " Shall the 
axe," cries the prophet, " boast itself against him that 
heweth therewith ? " The time had come for the axe 
to be broken and cast aside. 

Babylon, once the greatest city of the East, now for 
long trodden under the heel of Assyria, was stirring 
for her brief renaissance under a new dynasty. Her 
King, Nabopolassar, allied himself with Cyaxares, King 
of the Median highlanders who were now descending 
from their mountains, eager for conquest. Sin-shar- 
ishkun and his Assyrians were hopelessly defeated in 
the field, and after a desperate defence of Nineveh, 
lasting two years, the last Assyrian king shut himself 



up in his palace, with his wives and children, and 
perished in its blazing ruins. 

The whole world held its breath for awhile. The news 
seemed too good to be true. And then everywhere one 
universal paean of joy went up from the nations. Here 
is Nahum's shout of exultation : " Thou also shall be 
drunken ; thou shall be hid, thou also shall seek 
strength because of the enemy. All thy strongholds 
shall be like fig-trees with the first-ripe figs ; if they be 
shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the 
eater. Behold thy people in the midst of thee are 
women ; the gates of thy land shall be set wide open 
unto thine enemies ; the fire shall devour thy bars. 
Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strongholds ; 
go into clay, and tread the mortar, make strong the 
brickkiln. There shall the fire devour thee ; the sword 
shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the canker- 
worm . . . Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above 
the stars of Heaven ; the cankerworm spoileth, and 
fleeth away. Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy 
captains as the great grasshoppers which camp in the 
hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they 
flee away, and their place is not known where they are. 
Thy shepherds slumber, O King of Assyria ; thy nobles 
shall dwell in the dust ; thy people is scattered upon 
the mountains, and no man gathereth them. There is 
no healing of thy bruise ; thy wound is grievous ; all 
that hear the report of thee shall clap the hands over 
thee ; for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed 
continually ? " Perhaps such triumph over the fall of a 
glorious Kingdom may seem brutal and indecent ; but 
remember what Assyria, on her own showing, had been. 

" Whithersoever the carcase is, thither will the eagles 


be gathered together." The eagles came flying from 
the ends of the earth. The moment Assyria's grip 
began to slacken, Egypt, the old enemy, got into 
motion. Under a new and vigorous Pharaoh, Necho, 
her army marched up through Palestine. Josiah of 
Judah deemed it due to his honour as a vassal of the 
dying Assyrian power to oppose the Egyptian advance ; 
and he barred the way at the pass of Megiddo an ill- 
omened spot for Semites resisting Egyptians. Necho, 
with very unusual forbearance, pled with Josiah to 
withdraw his little army (II Chronicles xxxv. 21). "He 
sent ambassadors to him saying, What have I to do 
with thee, thou King of Judah ? I come not against 
thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have 
war : for God commanded me to make haste : forbear 
thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he 
destroy thee not." Such an appeal, even though a 
touch of self-interest may have been behind it, was 
highly honourable to the character of the Egyptian 
Pharaoh. Josiah, however, would not listen ; he had 
his point of honour which he could not yield, no 
matter what overwhelming superiority of force 
threatened him. Of course, to such an encounter 
there could be only one end : the Egyptian host 
brushed aside the little Jewish army, and Josiah was 
mortally wounded. 

Necho passed on to the Euphrates, meeting with no 
Assyrian opposition of any importance. On his return 
he deposed the Jewish king Jehoahaz, who had suc- 
ceeded Josiah, and made Jehoiakim king in his stead. 
For a little while all Syria and Palestine became once 
more, as of old, an Egyptian province. But only for 
a little while. Nabopolassar of Babylon was not going 


to tolerate any pretender to his inheritance as con- 
queror of Assyria. He sent out his son Nebuchadrezzar, 
better known to us as Nebuchadnezzar, the last out- 
standing specimen of the great race of fierce and 
ruthless soldiers which this land produced. Necho 
met him at Carchemish on the Euphrates; but only 
to prove that Egypt's day as a world-power was done. 
He was utterly routed, and Jeremiah has left a most 
vivid picture of the beaten Egyptian army streaming 
down in rout through Palestine. " Go up," he cries 
(xlvi. u, 12), "into Gilead and take balm, O virgin 
daughter of Egypt ; in vain shalt thou use many medi- 
cines ; for thou shalt not be cured. The nations have 
heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land ; 
for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, 
and they are fallen both together." 

Shortly after his great victory Nebuchadrezzar 
succeeded his father as King in Babylon. Jehoiakim 
of Judah, whom Necho had placed on the throne, 
became his vassal, but rebelled after three years. He 
died before the punishment of his folly had come upon 
the land, and when Nebuchadrezzar appeared before 
Jerusalem, his successor Jehoiachin surrendered himself 
to save his people. Nebuchadrezzar deported him and 
10,000 of the chief people of the land. Finally the 
last King of Judah, Zedekiah, after almost nine years of 
his reign had passed, tempted as of old by the vain 
promises of the Egyptian Pharaoh Haa-ab-ra(Hophra), 
did the most insane act he could, by breaking faith 
with the great King of Babylon. 

Of course it was sheer madness, and could have but 
one end. The Babylonian army surrounded Jerusalem, 
and after a desperate defence of eighteen months the 


Holy City was taken (586 B.C.) (II Kings xxv. ; 
1 1 Chronicles xxxvi. ; Jeremiah xxxix.). Nebuchadrezzar 
was not quite so cruel as an Assyrian conqueror would 
have been ; but he was cruel enough. He slew 
Zedekiah's sons before their father's eyes, and then 
blinded the vanquished King, that so his last earthly 
sight might be one of horror ; then he swept him, and 
the majority of the important people still remaining in 
the land into captivity. Thus miserably ended the rule 
of the House of David, having endured for about 414 
years (1000-586 B.C.). 

Nebuchadrezzar is always associatedin ourminds with 
the splendour of his great city Babylon. u Is not this 
great Babylon which I have built ? " And indeed he 
deserves such an association, and if ever a man had 
cause for pride as he surveyed the work of his hands, 
Nebuchadrezzar was that man, as he looked abroad on 
Babylon. Great she had always been, reverenced as 
the mother city, and the source of learning and law 
even by her Assyrian conquerors in the day of her 
humiliation. But Nebuchadrezzar and his father had 
found her as the Assyrians had left her, powerless, 
humiliated and sunk. He raised her, within a gener- 
ation, to far more than her ancient splendour to a 
magnificence indeed which beggared description, so 
that even Rome, wonderful as its spell has been, has 
never been able to oust Babylon from the mind and 
imagination of the human race as the typical world-city, 
the emblem of all that is magnificent and luxurious and 
central. Ancient historians can find no words to 
describe the grandeur of the palaces, the temples, the 
hanging gardens of the great city by the Euphrates. 

Great soldier as Nebuchadrezzar was, he was really 


by nature and instinct a man of peace, not of the 
merciless and unprofitable Assyrian type at all. "He 
was, in truth, a son of Babylonia, not of Assyria, a man 
of peace, not of war, a devotee of religion and culture, 
not of organization and administration; 1 ' so says Good- 
speed ( " History of the Babylonians and Assyrians " 
P- 347)- The same high authority remarks that "the 
picture of him in the Book of Daniel is, in not a few 
respects, strikingly accurate. His inscriptions reveal a 
loftiness of religious sentiment, unequalled in the royal 
literature of the Oriental world." (Those who are 
familiar with the Hymns of Akhenaten will probably, 
however, be disposed to question so sweeping a state- 
ment.) There can, at all events, be no question of the 
dignity and reverence of some of the prayers used, or 
sanctioned for use, by the great King. 

eternal prince ! Lord of all being ! 
As for the king whom thou lovest, and 
Whose name thou hast proclaimed 

As was pleasing to thee, 
Do thou lead aright his life 
Guide him in a straight path. 

1 am the prince obedient to thee, 
The creature of thy hand ; 
Thou hast created me, and 
With dominion over all people 
Thou hast intrusted me. 
According to thy grace, O Lord, 
Which thou dost bestow on all people, 
Cause me to love thy supreme dominion, 
And create in my heart 

The worship of thy godhead, 

And grant whatever is pleasing to thee 

Because thou hast fashioned my life. 

Such a prayer is worthy to have come from the lips 
of him whom the Book of Daniel represents as saying, 


" Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour 
the King of Heaven ; for all His works are truth, and 
His ways righteousness ; and those that walk in pride 
He is able to abase " (iv. 37). 

Wonderful as was this renaissance of ancient Babylon 
under Nebuchadrezzar, it was destined to be a short- 
lived splendour. The great king was succeeded by 
weaklings, and a great new power, that of the Persians 
under Cyrus, was rising in the north. Nabuna'id, the 
last King of Babylon, was the most pious of monarchs, 
serving his gods with unexampled devotion. In this 
respect we owe him no small debt ; for it is his inscrip- 
tions on his restorations of ancient temples that have 
enabled modern scholars to arrive at approximate 
dates for the earlier Babylonian kings. What was 
wanted for Babylon then, however, was not a pious 
dilettante, but a great soldier, and such a man she 
could not show. 

When Cyrus with his Persians and Medes invaded 
Babylonia, Nabuna'id sent against them his son Bel- 
shar-utsur the Belshazzar of the Book of Daniel. 
There is still extant a cylinder of Nabuna'id inscribed 
with a prayer to the gods on behalf of the young 
prince. The prayer was not heard. Belsha?zar was 
totally defeated. Nabuna'id shut himself up in Baby- 
lon, whose mighty walls and storehouses should have 
withstood siege for years, probably until the strength 
of the army of Cyrus was broken ; but there was 
treachery within the gates. We are all familiar with 
the old story of how Cyrus diverted the Euphrates, 
marched his troops up the dry river-bed into the town 
and took it by surprise on a night of "feasting. That is 
all pure romance. 


We have the actual account of Cyrus's triumph, 
written by the hands of the men who in all probability 
were responsible for it, the treacherous priests of 
Marduk, the great god of Babylon. The relative part 
of the Cylinder of Cyrus runs thus : " Cyrus, King of 
Anshan, He (Marduk), called by name ; to sovereignty 
over the whole world he appointed him. . . . Marduk, 
the great lord, guardian of his people, looked with joy 
on his pious works and his upright heart ; he com- 
manded him to go to his city Babylon, and he caused 
him to take the road to Babylon, going by his side as 
a friend and companion . . . without skirmish or 
battle he permitted him to enter Babylon." In other 
words, the priests of Marduk intrigued with Cyrus, 
inviting him to advance against Babylon at first, and 
on his arrival delivering the city into his hands. 

Gubaru (Gobryas), general of Cyrus, marched in 
unopposed. Nabuna'id was taken prisoner and kindly 
treated. But Belshazzar was of different metal. He, 
with the remainder of his forces, made a last desperate 
stand, and was slain in the hopeless defence of a city 
already conquered. It is to this last despairing effort 
of the Babylonian crown-prince that we must prob- 
ably refer the scene of Belshazzar's feast (Daniel v.). 
Such an ending the last wild revel before the slaughter 
- would be perfectly in accordance with Mesopotamian 
and Babylonian traditions for the fall of royalty. 

So ended the Neo-Babylonian empire after a brief 
but splendid existence. The whole period of its 
endurance from the fall of Nineveh to that of Babylon 
was only 90 years (626-536 B.C.) ; but if we want to 
realize something of how the great city of the Euphrates 
and its monarchs had impressed the imagination of the 


subject peoples, we have only to turn to the fourteenth 
chapter of Isaiah, where in one of the most wonderful 
pieces of taunting poetry in the literature of any land, 
the second Isaiah, himself in all probability a spectator 
of the fall of Babylon, records his thoughts and emotions 
at the ruin of the queen of cities and her King. 

" Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet 
thee at thy coming ; it stirreth up the dead for thee, 
even all the chief ones of the earth ; it hath raised 
up from their thrones all the Kings of the nations. All 
they shall speak and say unto thee : ' Art thou also 
become weak as we ? Art thou become like unto us ? ' 
Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise 
of thy viols; the worm is spread under thee, and the 
worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, 
O Lucifer, son of the morning ! how art thou cut 
down to the ground which didst weaken the nations. 
For thou hast said in thine heart : ' I will ascend into 
heaven ; I will exalt my throne above the stars of 
God ; I will also sit upon the mount of the congregation 
in the sides of the north ; I will ascend above the 
heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High/ 
Yet thou shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of 
the pit/' 


HKKin AT I.AUilSH (/>/>. 1 08 O"-" ICi)) 
From the m.uhle slal in thf Hritish Museum 



THE story of the revelation of the ancient civilizations 
which lay beneath the mounds of Mesopotamia and 
Babylonia is one of the most fascinating of the 
romances of science. " It is/' says Hilprecht, " a history 
so full of dramatic effects and genuine surprises and at 
the same time so unique and far reaching in its results, 
and bearing upon so many different branches of 
science that it will always read more like a thrilling 
romance penned by the skilful hand of a gifted writer 
endowed with an extraordinary power of imagination 
than like a plain and sober presentation of actual facts 
and events." The nineteenth and the beginning of the 
twentieth century have witnessed many examples of 
the romance of exploration. Schliemann's discovery 
of the Circle-Graves at Mykenae, the wonderful find of 
the cache of royal mummies at Der-el-Bahri, Evans's 
discovery of the palace of Minos at Knossos, and the 
Italian expedition's corresponding find at Phaistos, all 
these are as interesting as the most vivid romance about 
seekers of hidden treasure. But none of them excels in 
interest the story of how the great palaces and temples 
of Assyria and Babylonia rose from the dust of the 
past ; and perhaps none has been of more permanent 
and wide-reaching importance. 

In the case of Egypt it was always known that there 
was something worth looking for. The gigantic masses 



of the wonderful tombs and temples of the Nile Valley 
revealed themselves to a great extent, and beckoned the 
explorer onwards. It was not so with Assyria and 
Babylonia. There, as has already been pointed out, the 
very local habitation and name of the great cities of the 
Classic Orient had passed from the memory of man^ 
A measure of certainty, very rough and not over sure ; 
existed in the case of the ruins of Babylon ; for the 
rest, practically nothing. The great mounds that 
towered above the plains bore, some of them, fantastic 
names, linking them with heroes, mythical or scriptural, 
Nimrud, for instance, or Nebi Yunus, carrying the 
mind back to the " mighty hunter before the Lord/' or 
the reluctant bearer of God's warning to Nineveh ; but 
there was no fact behind the fancy that had bestowed 
the names. And when, one by one, the palaces and 
temples of the great cities of ancient and scriptural 
history emerged from the gigantic heaps of rubbish in 
which they had been buried, and the names and deeds 
of mighty men whose fame echoes through the pages of 
the Bible were revealed in sculpture and writing on 
the walls of their houses, it was as though the veil of 
time had been withdrawn, and the past was alive 
once more. 

The pioneers in the actual work of excavation were 
two a Frenchman and a Briton of French extrac- 
tion. Before they actually began to open up the 
mounds of Khorsabad and Nimrud, others, such as 
Pietro della Valle, Claudius James Rich, J. S. Bucking- 
ham, and Sir R. Ker Porter had visited, sketched, and 
measured some of the more famous mounds, and had 
even brought back inscribed bricks which might have 
been of value had anyone been able to read them ; 


but no real excavation had been done, save the destruc- 
tion wrought by Arabs in their search for building 

In the year 1842, however, France sent as consular 
agent to Mosul Paul Emil Botta, a man admirably 
qualified, both by natural gifts and by experience, for 
the work which he was destined to do. Immediately 
after his arrival at Mosul he began to explore the great 
mound of Kouyunjik. At first his efforts met with 
little reward ; but the work in which he was engaged 
became noised abroad, with many comments on its 
folly, and in December 1842 an Arab from Khorsabad 
reported that such stones and bricks as the explorers 
were looking for were to be found in abundance at the 
mound of Khorsabad. With some hesitation, Botta 
sent a few of his workmen there to explore, and on 
their report that they had discovered walls with reliefs 
and inscriptions, he followed them himself. 

At once he realized the importance of the finds, and 
wrote to friends in Paris a description of them, con- 
taining this sentence : " I believe myself to be the first 
who has discovered sculptures which with some reason 
can be referred to the period when Nineveh was 
flourishing." Such a statement aroused extraordinary 
enthusiasm in Paris. The Academy voted a consider- 
able sum of money for the prosecution of the excava- 
tions, and sent out an artist, E. Flandin, to sketch 
the material which Botta's work disclosed. Thus 
supported, though still with many local hindrances to 
meet and overcome, Botta persevered in his work, 
revealing more and more of the superb and artistic 
decorations of a great palace. In 1846 he sent home 
a large mass of the material which he had collected, 


and its exhibition created astonishing excitement in 
France. ''When these gigantic winged bulls, with 
their serene expression of dignified strength and intel- 
lectual power, and these fine reliefs illustrating the 
different scenes of peace and war of a bygone race 
before which the nations of Asia had trembled, stood 
there again before the eyes of the whole world, as a 
powerful witness to the beginning of a resurrection of 
an almost forgotten empire, the enthusiasm among all 
classes of France knew no bounds." (Hilprecht, 
"Explorations in Bible Lands/' pp. 79, 80.) Botta was 
provided with funds for the publication of the results 
of his excavations, and the work was carried on with 
varying success for some time longer. 

In 1851 Botta was succeeded as consul and explorer 
by Victor Place, a skilled architect, and in the years 
from 1851 to 1855 Place completed the survey of 
Khorsabad. His work did not yield so many objects 
of popular interest as that of his predecessor, and 
many of his most valuable finds were lost by the wreck 
of his rafts on the Tigris ; but the labours of the two 
men together put before the world the plan of a whole 
Assyrian town, with palace and temple. The town 
was that built to his own glory by Sargon, the con- 
queror of Samaria, hitherto known only by a single 
verse of Isaiah (xx. i). It was named by its founder, 
Dur-Sharrukin, or "Sargon's Burgh." The town 
itself was almost square, with its angles pointing to the 
four cardinal points, and its area was 741 acres. 

The north-west side was interrupted by the great 
palace, which protruded like a bastion into the plain, 
forming also a part of the wall. " The royal residence," 
says Hilprecht ("Explorations in Bible Lands," pp. 


1. DYIN'C, I -ION (/. 115) 

2. DYlNll IJONKSS (/. 1 1 5) 

From the .slabs in the British Museum 


8 5; 86 ) ; " was erected on a lofty terrace, nearly 45 feet 
high and built of unbaked bricks, cased with a 
wall of large square stones. At the northern corner 
of this raised platform, covering an area of nearly 
25 acres of land, was an open place ; near the western 
corner stood a temple, and at the centre of the south- 
west side rose the stage-tower belonging to it, and 
used also for astronomical observations ; the rest was 
occupied by the palace itself. The latter was divided 
into three sections, the seraglio, occupying the centre 
of the terrace and extending towards the plain ; the 
harem, with only two entrances, situated at the 
southern corner ; and the domestic quarters, at the 
eastern corner, connected with the store and provision 
rooms, the stables, kitchen, and bakery, at the centre 
of the south-east side. The seraglio, inhabited by the 
king and his large retinue of military and civil officers, 
like the other two sections of the extensive building, 
consisted of a great many larger and smaller rooms 
grouped round several open courts. The north-west 
wing contained the public reception-rooms wide halls, 
elaborately decorated with winged bulls, magnificent 
sculptures, and historical inscriptions, glorifying the 
king in his actions of peace and war. We see him 
hunting wild animals, doing homage to the gods, 
sitting at the table, and listening to the singers and 
musicians, or attacking strong cities and castles, sub- 
duing foreign nations, punishing rebels, and leading 
back thousands of captives and innumerable spoil of 
every description. The private apartments of the 
monarch, which were much smaller and simpler, 
occupied the south-east wing, close to the harem, or 
women's quarter. The latter was entirely separated 



from the other two sections, even its single rooms, 
as the traces of discovered hinges indicate, being 
closed by folding doors, while everywhere else the 
entrances appear to have been covered with cur- 

Botta's work was thus the first thing which enabled 
the modern world to understand the high level of 
civilization to which the nations of the ancient Orient 
had attained. " There have been made other and even 
greater discoveries in Assyrian and Babylonian ruins 
since Botta's far-reaching exploration of the mounds 
of Khorsabad, but there never has been aroused again 
such a deep and general interest in the excavation of 
distant Oriental sites as towards the middle of the last 
century, when Sargon's palace rose suddenly out of the 
ground, and furnished the first faithful picture of a great 
epoch of art which had vanished completely from 
human sight/ 1 

The above statement, while generally true, scarcely 
applies to the English-speaking countries, whose 
interest was aroused, not so much by the discoveries 
of Botta,as by those of the protagonist of Britain, who 
was following fast in the footsteps of the French 
explorer, on his way to the attainment of an even more 
wonderful success. From his early days, Austen Henry 
Layard was possessed with a wonderful craving for 
travel and exploration in the East. In the year 1840, 
while gratifying his desire by a journey in company 
with a friend, he travelled to Mosul and Baghdad, and 
visited several of the mounds of Mesopotamia. In 1842 
he returned to Mosul, where Botta was now beginning 
his work, and the two great explorers met, finding in 
one another kindred spirits, who disdained the inter- 


national jealousy which so disfigured the records of 
early Assyrian exploration. 

Layard's whole mind was bent on excavation ; but 
he was held back by lack of funds. On the completion 
of his journey he remained at Constantinople, infor- 
mally assisting the British Ambassador, Sir Stratford 
Canning, afterwards Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. The 
reports of Botta's brilliant success which reached him 
did not diminish his eagerness to be in the field himself, 
and at last his chief offered to advance 60 towards 
the cost of excavations. Layard set out triumphantly 
in October 1845, with such meagre means, to excavate 
Nineveh ! His eagerness may be estimated by the 
fact that for twelve days he travelled on horseback 
night and day without rest. 

He decided to begin work at the Mound of Nimrud, 
near Mosul ; but he had no firman from the Porte to 
authorize his excavation, and so had to proceed with 
secrecy. In November, when he began his investiga- 
tions, there was no vegetation on the mounds, so that 
he was able to examine them without hindrance, 
employing a staff of six workmen. Being convinced 
"that sculptured remains must still exist in some part 
of the mound," he set three of his company to dig on 
the west side of the heap, and the other three at the 
south-west corner. Before night the two gangs had 
excavated two chambers lined with inscribed alabaster 
slabs, those on the north-west side in a fine state of 
preservation, those at the south-west corner calcined 
by intense heat. " Night interrupted our labours/ 1 says 
Layard. " I returned to the village well satisfied with 
their result." He had every reason to be so, for sub- 
sequent investigations made it plain that one day's 


digging with six workmen had resulted in the discovery 
of two Assyrian palaces 1 For some days the work 
went on, greatly hindered by the ignorant opposition 
of the Turkish officials at Mosul (whose favour Layard 
was obliged to conciliate, as he was working without a 
firman), and by the jealousy of some of the European 
residents. On November 28 the first bas-reliefs were 
discovered ; but Layard's joy was damped by an official 
order to close down his excavations. Means were found 
to evade even this order, and to overcome all obstacles, 
and the appointment of a new and more enlightened 
governor of the province greatly eased the situation. 

In February 1846, it became apparent that he had 
discovered the most ancient palace of the Mound of 
Nimrud, and immediately thereafter came one of the 
most striking incidents of the excavation the discovery 
of the first winged-human-headed lion. It will be best 
to allow Layard to tell the story in his own vivid 
fashion ("Nineveh and its Remains," vol. i, p. 65, 
et scq.) : " On the morning following ... 1 rode to 
the camp of Sheikh Abd-ur-rahman, and was returning 
to the mound when I saw two Arabs of his tribe urging 
their mares to the top of their speed. On approaching 
me they stopped. ' Hasten, O Bey,' exclaimed one of 
them 'hasten to the diggers, for they have found 
Nimrod himself. Wallah, it is wonderful, but it is 
true ! We have seen him with our eyes. There is no 
God but God ' ; and both joining in this pious exclama- 
tion, they galloped off without further words in the 
direction of their tents. 

11 On reaching the ruins I descended into the new 
trench, and found the workmen, who had already seen 
me as I approached, standing near a heap of baskets 


1. AMH KI'.ANIJ'AI. HI N!1N. LIONS ( />/>. 115 

2. III T NTIN<; srKNK; DOCS ON J.KASH (l'5 c 


and cloaks. While Arvad advanced, and asked for a 
present to celebrate the occasion, the Arabs withdrew 
the screen they had hastily constructed, and disclosed 
an enormous human head sculptured in full out of the 
alabaster of the country. They had uncovered the 
upper part of a figure, the remainder of which was still 
buried in the earth. I saw at once that the head must 
belong to a winged lion or bull, similar to those of 
Khorsabad or Persepolis. It was in admirable pre- 
servation. The expression was calm, yet majestic, 
and the outline of the features showed a freedom and 
knowledge of art scarcely to be looked for in the works 
of so remote a period. . . . 

" I was not surprised that the Arabs had been amazed 
and terrified at this apparition. It required no great 
stretch of imagination to conjure up the most strange 
fancies. This gigantic head, blanched with age, thus 
rising from the bowels of the earth, might well have 
belonged to one of those fearful beings which are 
pictured in the traditions of the country as appear- 
ing to mortals, slowly ascending from the regions 
below. 11 

With inimitable vivacity Layard details for us the 
various verdicts upon his find, delivered by Arab 
Sheikh, Moslem Cadi, or Turkish Pasha. " It was some 
time before the Sheikh could be prevailed upon to 
descend into the pit, and convince himself that the 
image he saw was of stone. ' This is not the work of 
men's hands, 1 exclaimed he, ' but of those infidel giants 
of whom the Prophet peace be with him ! has said 
that they were higher than the tallest date-tree ; this is 
one of the idols which Noah peace be with him ! 
cursed before the flood/ In this opinion, the result 


of a careful examination, all the bystanders concurred. 
. . . The Cadi had no distinct idea whether the bones 
of the mighty hunter had been uncovered, or only his 
image ; nor did Ismail Pasha very clearly remember 
whether Nimrod was a true-believing prophet or an 
infidel. I consequently received a somewhat unintel- 
ligible message from his Excellency to the effect that 
the remains should be treated with respect, and be by 
no means further disturbed ; that he wanted the ex- 
cavations to be stopped at once, and desired to confer 
with me on the subject." 

By making liberal use both of the wisdom of the 
serpent and the harmlessness of the dove, Layard 
managed to evade or overcome all the obstacles which 
ignorance, fanaticism, and jealousy put in the way. 
Similar discoveries immediately followed the first ; 
and, shortly after, one of the greatest hindrances to 
the work was removed by the arrival of the Imperial 
firman from Constantinople, " authorizing the con- 
tinuation of the excavations and the removal of such 
objects as might be discovered." By July 1846 a 
collection of antiquities discovered at Nitnrud was 
dispatched on its tedious journey to England ; and 
when the summer heats had passed the excavations 
were resumed with extraordinary success. In the 
largest room of the North-west Palace, apparently the 
reception-room, a series of sculptures was found whose 
subject was the glorification of King Ashur-natsir-pal in 
war and peace ; in the south-east quarter of the mound 
a building was discovered which had been adorned 
with re-used slabs originally bearing the name of 
Esar-haddon ; while in the centre of the mound the 
diggers came upon one of the great treasures of 


Assyriology, the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II., 
already referred to in the preceding chapter. 

It would take too long to follow Layard through the 
story of his innumerable discoveries at Nimrud, 
Kouyunjik and elsewhere. Besides, it has been told 
by himself with infinite spirit and vivacity in his 
books " Nineveh and its Remains " and " Nineveh and 
Babylon/ 1 1849 and 1853, books which read more like 
a romance than a sober story of scientific work, and 
prove that, great as Layard may have been as an 
explorer, he was no less great as a narrator. The 
books can be obtained for a mere trifle nowadays, and 
should not be missed by anyone who desires to feel 
again something of the thrill with which our fathers 
realized the discovery of a buried world of ancient 
days. Some idea of the extent of his achievement may 
be gained from the fact that when he left Mosul on 
June 24, 1847, he had identified the sites of the great 
Assyrian city of Kalkhi or Kalah, the Biblical Calah, 
in Nimrud, and of part of Nineveh itself in Kouyunjik ; 
while he had discovered the remains of no fewer than 
eight Assyrian palaces. At Nimrud he had found the 
north-west palace of Ashur-natsir-pal, and its recon- 
struction by Sargon ; the central palace of Shal- 
maneser II., reconstructed by Tiglath-Pileser IV.; on 
the western edge of the mound a smaller palace 
of Adad-nirari III. ; in the south-west corner the 
palace of Esar-haddon ; and in the south-east corner 
the small remains of a palace of Ashur-etililani, one of 
the last rulers of Assyria. In addition to these seven, 
he had discovered the great palace of Sennacherib at 
Kouyunjik. Was there ever such a record for two 
years of work ? 


Layard's subsequent work in his second expedition 
lay mainly at Kouyunjik, where in the ruins of Sen- 
nacherib's palace he unearthed many slabs, bringing 
before us with great artistic power the whole detail of 
Assyrian life in peace, in the chase, and in war ; slabs 
which have given us almost photographic renderings 
of the details not only of Assyrian appearance, costume, 
and armament, but also of those of all the nations 
with whom Assyria was brought into contact, and that 
at a time most interesting to us the time of Hezekiah 
and Isaiah. Still more momentous, however, was his 
discovery, in the southern wing of Sennacherib's 
palace, of a part of the former royal library of Nineveh, 
the other part being unearthed later, by Layard's 
assistant and successor, Hormuzd Rassam, in Ashur- 
banipal's north palace. The amount of material thus 
provided for the future study of Assyrian history, 
manners and customs, literature, law, and religion, was 
enormous, and great as might be the value of the 
sculptures discovered, that of the cuneiform tablets has 
proved infinitely greater. 

Of course, it was impossible for the work of any of 
the successors of Botta and Layard to carry with it the 
romance attaching to that of the pioneers. Yet the 
work of Rassam, Layard's successor, including among 
other important discoveries those of the famous bronze 
gates of Balawat, the library of Ashurbanipal in the 
north palace at Kouyunjik, and the finding in the 
mound of Abu Habba the ruins of the great city of 
Sippara with its temple of Shamash, the Sun god ; the 
brilliant and lamented George Smith's successful search 
in the library of Nineveh for the missing Creation 
Tablets ; the remarkably rich French excavations at 


Tello under De Sarzec and Capt. G. Cros, resulting in 
the discovery of the records and artistic treasures of 
the ancient Sumerian city of Shirpurla or Lagash, 
including the statues and inscriptions of the great patesi 
Gudea, already referred to ; the work of the American 
Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania at Nippur, 
resulting in the discovery of more than 60,000 cuneiform 
tablets, and the tracing of buildings on the site ranging 
from before the time of Sargon of Akkad, 3800 B.C., 
down to the Persian period ; and, to name only one 
more among many, German, British, American and 
French, the explorations of De Morgan at Susa, which 
have given us the Code of Hammurabi ; all these, with 
many others well worthy of mention, have been steadily 
extending our knowledge of the manner of life, the 
history, the art, the law, the literature and religion of 
Assyria and Babylonia. 

The value of all these discoveries has been multiplied 
many times over by Sir Henry Rawlinson's splendid 
discovery, resulting from the study of the trilingual 
inscription of Darius on the rock of Behistun, of the 
secret of the cuneiform script a discovery so well 
followed up by many great scholars, British and foreign, 
that now the innumerable tablets inscribed with the 
arrow-headed characters found in Assyria and Baby- 
lonia, and sometimes even in Palestine and Egypt, can 
be read with practically as great certainty as an ordinary 
Latin or Greek inscription. The result of this epoch- 
making discovery has been a complete inversion of the 
importance of the objects of search in modern 
excavation. Much as present-day investigators prize 
the artistic treasures which they may unearth, they no 
longer, like Botta and Layard, conduct their excavations 


simply or mainly with the design of unearthing more 
winged-bulls or sculptured slabs. Infinitely more 
important to them are the literary inscriptions which 
may correct a previous misapprehension, or fill a gap 
in the history of a period, which may cast a fresh flood 
of light on the manner of life of a great nation in its 
flower, or teach us how and why it declined, which may 
tell us how men's lives were ordered by the law of the 
land, what they believed in while they lived, and what 
they expected when they died. To such subjects 
as these, revealed to us with ever-growing fulness 
by modern discoveries, we may now devote our 


As has been already indicated, a very considerable 
amount of literary material has been gathered from 
Assyrian and Babylonian sites and deciphered. In 
the case of this literature of Babylonia, as in the case 
of that of Egypt, a considerable proportion of the 
extant material is devoted to religion, and in this case, 
even more than in that of Egypt, the religious records 
should be of high interest and importance, because 
they belong to the people from whom the Hebrew 
race originally sprang. If there is any likelihood of 
being able to trace among the records of any nation 
the derivation of any of the religious ideas of the 
Hebrews, it will be here. 

The faith with whose records we have to deal is a 
composite one, belonging to two distinct peoples, the 
Sumerians, and the Semites of Babylonia. Assyria 
may practically be left out of account, for the simple 
reason that just as she took over the Babylonian 
civilization, adding next to nothing of her own, so in 
religion also she originated nothing, but simply adapted 
the Babylonian Pantheon to her needs by the natural 
device of putting her own national god, Assur, at the 
head of the Pantheon. The earlier documents, derived 
from Sumerian and early Semitic Babylonian sources 
convey to us information about the deities and the 
religion of the people indirectly, in the course of 



descriptions of the building and rebuilding of temples, 
the making of offerings, and so forth. For example, 
Gudea's description of his dream and the building of 
the temple of Ningirsu at Lagash is full of information 
as to the deities worshipped in his day. Purely reli- 
gious inscriptions occur from near the end of the 
third millennium B.C. ; and in the more recent inscrip- 
tions, such as those of the time of Ashurbanipal, 
there are very full versions of cosmic legends and 
myths of the gods, reproducing and collecting no 
doubt the scattered earlier versions of those myths. 

The course of development of the religion was some- 
what similar, allowing for local and racial differences, to 
that which took place in Egypt (vide chap. xii.). Under 
the Sumerians, whose working unit was not the nation 
but the City-State, there was an extensive pantheon of 
small local gods, each claiming dominion over his own 
city and territory, but carrying no weight elsewhere, 
save when his city could enforce reverence for him by 
success in war. Under the Semitic Babylonians, with 
the gradual unifying of the State under the headship of 
Babylon, there came an absorption of all this pantheon 
of insignificant gods as minor elements under an inner 
circle of great gods, comparatively few in number, 
belonging to the more important cities, and presided 
over by the great god of the State Marduk (the 
Biblical Merodach) in Babylonia, Assur in Assyria 
Assur's position, however, was merely official, Marduk 
still occupying the central place in the legends which 
Assyria had simply transferred from Babylonia. This 
gathering of the gods under a single head, however, 
never reached to monotheism, as in the case of the 
Hebrews, but remained very similar to the state of 



T 1 *< 
>> 53 ( 


things in Egypt ; where at one time Ra, at another 
Amen, was the chief deity of the State. 

Some of the chief gods of the old City-States which 
were taken over into the Babylonian Pantheon were 
such as these : Shamash, the Sun god, from Sippara 
and Larsa ; Sin, the Moon god, from Ur (Abraham's 
town, the modern Mukayyar or Mugheir); Anu, 
the god of the heavens, from Erech (the modern 
Warka) ; Ea, the god of the deep, from Eridu, then, as 
will be remembered, a sea-port town ; Enlil or Bel, 
from Nippur; and Ishtar, goddess of love and war, 
from Akkad, Arbela, and Nineveh ; while supreme 
over all came Marduk of Babylon. The male deities 
had consorts, such as Tsarpanitum, the consort of 
Marduk ; but except in the case of Ishtar, whose im- 
portance is undeniable, these consorts are mainly only 
pale feminine reflections of their husbands. 

The gods were early and constantly represented by 
means of stone images ; wood was also sometimes 
used, but was not the prevalent material, as in Egypt. 
Holy places were naturally numerous, each city which 
in the days of the old City-States had possessed a god 
of any renown being looked upon as a sanctuary. A 
small tablet found at Nineveh, and now in the British 
Museum, gives a list of thirty-one holy places, and in 
addition to this all the great cities of Babylonia were 
holy, chief of them, of course, Babylon itself, where 
E-sagila, the great temple-tower of the city, "the 
temple of the high head/' was pre-eminent. There can 
be little doubt that E-sagila must be regarded as the 
original type from which the Biblical idea of the Tower 
of Babel sprang. The honour of being the source of 
the Biblical account has often been given to E-zida, 


"the everlasting temple/' of the town of Borsippa 
(now Birs Nimrud to be distinguished from the 
Nimrud in which Layard found the ruins of Calah). 
It appears much more likely, however, that the legend 
should have arisen concerning the supreme town 
Babylon than concerning Borsippa, and especially that 
it should have risen in connexion with a temple of 
Marduk, the head of the Pantheon, than in connexion 
with a temple of Nebo, whose position, though 
honourable, is secondary. 

Herodotus describes E-sagila as consisting of a 
tower within an enclosure which measured 400 yards 
each way and was closed with gates of bronze. The 
tower within was a kind of step-pyramid, consisting 
of seven stages and a platform on which the whole 
rested. A winding ramp gave access to the summit, 
on which was a shrine, regarded by the Babylonians 
as the abode of the god, but containing no image. 
Another shrine was situated lower down, and this 
contained a great statue of Marduk (Zeus, Herodotus 
called him) sitting before a table. The statue, with 
its throne, steps, and table, were all of gold. Outside 
this sanctuary were two altars, a small golden one on 
which only unweaned lambs were sacrificed, and a 
larger one for full-grown victims. 

Fortunately it is possible to check the reliability of 
this description, and, on the whole, it seems fairly 
accurate. In 1876 Mr. George Smith discovered 
a Babylonian description of this same temple and 
published a summary of it. There were apparently 
two courts of considerable extent, oblong in shape, 
the smaller within the larger. Six gates opened on 
the temple area around the platform of the ziggural 


which was square and walled, with four gates facing 
the cardinal points. On this platform, around the 
ziggurat, were chapels to the principal gods, Nebo and 
Tasmit, Ea and Nusku, Anu and Bel, while the western 
shrine was for Marduk himself. Here stood the couch 
of the god with the golden throne, as mentioned by 
Herodotus. The couch was nine cubits long by four 
broad. The central feature was the ziggurat. It was 
square in plan, with sides facing the cardinal points. 
The lowest stage measured 300 feet square by no 
high ; the second, 260 feet square by 60 feet high ; the 
third, 200 feet square ; the fourth, 170 feet; the fifth, 
140 feet square, each by 20 feet high. The dimensions 
of the sixth and seventh stages are not given, but no 
doubt they were in proportion to the others ; while 
the shrine of Marduk, built upon the seventh, was 
80 feet by 70 feet in length and breadth by 50 feet in 
height. In all probability, therefore, the height of this 
great building was the same as the length of one of 
the sides of its lowest stage, or 300 feet. Altogether 
the ziggurat must have been a most impressive feature 
of the temple. What strikes one at once is the total 
dissimilarity between the Babylonian and Egyptian 
types of temple. They are about as unlike as it is possible 
for buildings to be ; and the remarkable thing is that 
the Hebrews, who otherwise borrowed so little from a 
religious point of view from Egypt and so much from 
Babylon, yet preferred the general type of the Egyp- 
tian temple to the Babylonian, though they introduced 
several Babylonian features into the details of the 
temple at Jerusalem. 

One of these details of some importance is the great 
bronze basin, for purposes of purification, which stood 


in the outer court. It was called " the deep," and is 
the exact prototype of the great bronze "sea" of 
Solomon's temple. The resemblance is complete even 
to the fact that the Babylonian, like the Solomonic 
"sea," stood upon twelve bronze oxen. It was under- 
stood to represent the primaeval deep out of which the 
world arose. "The chapel found by Mr. Hormuzd 
Rassam at Balawat, near Nineveh, gives us," says 
Professor Sayce, " some idea of what the inner shrine 
of a temple was like. At its north-west end was an 
altar approached by steps, while in front of the latter, 
and near the entrance, was a coffer or ark, in which 
two small slabs of marble were deposited, 12* inches 
long by 8 wide, on which the Assyrian king Assur- 
nazir-pal in duplicate text records his erection of the 
sanctuary. It is not surprising that when the Nestorian 
workmen found the tablets, they believed that they 
had discovered the two tables of the Mosaic law." 

" The image of the god," says the same authority, 
" stood in the innermost shrine, or Holy of Holies, of 
the temple itself. In front of it was the golden table 
on which the shewbread was laid, and below was 
the parakku, or ' mercy-seat,' whereon, according to 
Nebuchadnezzar, at the festival of the new year, 'on 
the eighth and eleventh days, the king of the gods of 
heaven and earth, Bel, the god, seats himself, while 
the gods of heaven and earth reverently regard him, 
standing before him with bowed heads/ It was ' the 
seat of the oracles ' which were delivered from it by 
the god to his ministering priests " ("Babylonians and 
Assyrians," pp. 247-248). 

In connexion with the worship carried on in such 
temples, the use of hymns was constant, and the book 


// / If, I 
\VJN(,KI> MAN-HKAI>KI> LION (//. 132 ^ 134) 

From the bcuipluie lit the British Museum 


in which these hymns were collected " was at once the 
Bible and the Prayer-book of Chaldcea." Curiously, 
the hymns were in Sumerian, which had become the 
sacred language, and for the use of priests and wor- 
shippers they had to be provided with a Semitic 
translation and with directions for the pronunciation 
of certain words. Even when new hymns were added 
they were written in Sumerian ; only the rubric was 
allowed to be written in Semitic. The prayers as well 
as the hymns were in the ancient sacred language, 
which only a few scholars even among the priests 
understood. All which seems precisely as sensible 
as the use of Latin in the Roman Catholic Church 
to-day. Each hymn was prefaced by the words "To 
be recited/' and closed with ' Amanu'' "Amen." 
In all this, and particularly in the details of the laver 
or sea, the table of shewbread, the mercy-seat, and 
the ark with its sacred inscription on two tablets of 
stone, the resemblances to Hebrew practice are so 
direct and obvious as scarcely to need pointing out. 

There was practically no end to the religious services 
of the temples. As in Egypt, there was a regular daily 
ritual to be observed, while each month had its own 
special festivals and fasts. New moons were strictly 
observed, and the seventh day was one of rest and 
religious observance. Sayce has pointed out that 
Babylonian etymologists derived the name " Sabattu," 
or Sabbath, from the Sumerian words sa, " heart," and 
bat, " to rest," because it was a rest-day for the heart. 
Here again we have correspondence with Hebrew 
practice meeting us. On these Sabbaths no work 
was permitted to be done. The King, it was laid 
down, " must not eat flesh cooked at the fire or in the 



smoke ; must not change his clothes ; must not put 
on white garments ; must not offer sacrifices ; must 
not drive in his chariot, or issue royal decrees." Even 
the prophet " was forbidden to practise augury or 
give medicine to the sick " (Sayce, " Babylonians and 
Assyrians/ 1 p. 245). There can be little question as to 
the source whence came the Hebrew idea that God's 
day was observed with most glory to the Almighty by 
making His creatures miserable. It was evidently part 
of the mental furnishing of the Semitic race, and not 
an excrescence of the Hebrew mind alone. 

Sacrifice was offered daily, the offering being of 
flesh or of the fruits of the earth. The ox, sheep, 
lamb, kid, and dove were sacrificial animals ; fruit, 
vegetables, bread, wine, oil, and spices were offered 
where there was no need for the shedding of blood. 
Further, there were special sin-offerings and " heave- 
offerings/' in which the sacrifice was uplifted or 
waved before the god. The Bible student will observe 
in this also a close correspondence with Hebrew 

Besides the ordinary services and the statutory 
festivals and fasts, there were extraordinary services 
held on days of public thanksgiving or humiliation 
by order of the government. Thus in the reign of 
Esar-haddon public prayers and fasts for one hundred 
days and nights were ordered, that the gods might take 
away the sins of the people, and ward off the attack 
which was threatened by the peoples of the north. On 
Ashurbanipal's capture of Babylon, one of his first 
acts was to purge the city of sin. " At the instance of 
the prophets he purified the mercy-seats and cleansed 
the processional roads that had been polluted ; the 


wrathful gods and angry goddesses he appeased with 
special prayers and penitential Psalms." 

The mention of days of humiliation and penitential 
Psalms brings us into contact with one of the most 
remarkable contrasts between the religion of Babylonia 
and that of Egypt. The Egyptian religion left practi- 
cally no place for confession of sin or for penitence at 
all. The instances of any Egyptian confessing sin or 
professing penitence for sin are of the very scarcest. 
What a religious Egyptian did, when brought face to 
face with the question of sin, was stoutly to deny that 
he had been guilty of any transgression of law, divine 
or human ; and the formula on which he relied for 
deliverance in the Judgment after Death was nothing 
more than a succession of denials of all kinds of guilty 
acts. And this is one of the few points in which the 
inferiority of the far more attractive Egyptian to his 
Semitic rival must be allowed. The Babylonian, like 
his cousin the Hebrew, knew and felt the sinfulness of 
sin. It was a reality to him, which could only be got 
rid of by penitence, confession, and the divine forgive- 
ness. "O my God, Who art angry/' says one peni- 
tent, " accept my prayer. . . . Receive my supplication, 
and let Thy Spirit be at rest. . . . Let my sins be for- 
given, let my transgressions be blotted out. Let the ban 
be torn away, let the bonds be loosened. Let the seven 
winds bear away my sighs. I will rend away my wicked- 
ness ; let the bird bear it to the heavens/' " I, Thy ser- 
vant, full of sighs/ 1 says another, " cry unto Thee. Who 
ever has sinned, Thou acceptest his fervent prayer. 
The man on whom Thou lookest in pity, that man 
lives, O Ruler of all things . . . who acceptest suppli- 
cation. . . . Beside Thee there is no deity who guides 


aright. In justice look on me with pity, and accept my 
supplication. Declare my forgiveness, and let Thy 
Spirit be appeased. When, O my lady, will Thy coun- 
tenance be turned ? I moan like the doves, I satiate 
myself with sighs." 

If the barren ritualism of the Babylonian Sabbath 
showed us the original type of the thing which destroyed 
Judaism, and against which the prophets and our Lord 
alike protested, the sincerity and earnestness of such 
confessions show that here in the parent stock we 
have a vein of the same thoroughgoing straight- 
forwardness and honesty with God and conscience, the 
same sense of the fact that religion goes down to the 
roots of things, which are responsible for much that is 
noblest and most permanently helpful in Hebrew 
religious literature. These Babylonian confessions 
would not be out of place among the penitential 
Psalms of the Hebrew Psalter, the supreme utterance 
of the human heart in contrition. 

Unfortunately, no such commendation can be given 
to the Babylonian idea of the spirit world, and of the 
life after death. The outlook of the Babylonians upon 
the world beyond was sombre in the extreme. They 
certainly believed in a life beyond the grave, but it was 
very far from being such a placid and happy existence 
as that to which the devout Egyptian looked forward 
in his "Field of Bulrushes." To them the future life 
had a dark and forbidding aspect, and the land in which 
it was lived was " the land of No-return/' a place where 
helpless shades drag out miserable existences. 

When Gilgames, the hero of the great Babylonian 
epic, succeeds in persuading the god Eato beg Nerigal, 
the god of the underworld, to bring back from the 



shades his companion Ea-bani, or Enki-du, the god 
opened "the hole of the earth/ ' the entrance to his 
abode, and brought forth the spirit of Ea-bani like mist 
(cf. the Scriptural scene of Saul's visit to the witch of 
Endor, and the appearance of Samuel: "And the 
woman said unto Saul, I see a god coming up out of 
the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of ? 
And she said, An old man cometh up ; and he is 
covered with a robe," I Sam. xxviii. 13, 14). Gilgames 
immediately besought his friend to tell him about the 
undiscovered country: "Tell, my friend, tell, my 
friend the law of the land which thou sawest, tell." 
But Ea-bani answers : " I will not tell thee, friend, I 
will not tell thee if I tell thee the law of the land which 
I saw, ... sit down, weep." 

Another of the great Babylonian legends tells how 
Ishtar, the goddess of love, once left the earth and 
descended into the underworld in search of her dead 
love Tammuz, whose story passed over into Hebrew 
religious practice in the degeneracy of the race, as we 
see from Ezekiel viii. 14 : " Then he brought me to the 
door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward 
the north ; and behold there sat the women weeping 
for Tammuz." In classical times it became the familiar 
story of Venus and Adonis. We need not consider 
the rest of the story : the point is the description of 
the underworld. 

Upon the Land of No-Return, the place of darkness, 

Set Ishtar, daughter of Sin. her ear ; 

The daughter of Sin then set her ear 

Upon the house of gloom, the seat of Irkalla 

Upon the house whose entrance hath no exit, 

Upon the path whose way hath no return, 

Upon the house whose entrants are deprived of light, 


Where dust is their nourishment, mud their food, 
Light they see not, in darkness they dwell, 
Clothed also, like a bird, in a dress of feathers, 
Upon the door and bolt the dust hath blown. 

It was unfortunately this dark and gloomy view of 
the world beyond the grave that the Hebrews carried 
with them in the beginning out of Babylonia. In their 
thought it became " the dusky land of Sheol ; into 
which all, whether good or bad, descended, there to 
prolong a sad and shadowy existence." The infinitely 
more cheerful and hopeful Egyptian theory of the life 
beyond, familiar as it must have been to the Israelites, 
seems to have made absolutely no impression upon 
them in comparison with this grim and unattractive 
Babylonian Hades a very remarkable proof of the 
tremendous persistence and power of racial charac- 

For us the most interesting feature of Babylonian 
religion is the intimate connexion which manifestly 
exists between its cosmic legends and those of the 
Hebrew Scriptures. No two things could well be 
more unlike than the majestic monotheism of the 
Hebrew and the somewhat vulgar polytheism of the 
Babylonian, whose gods are terrified at the deluge 
which one of their own number has brought upon the 
earth, and " crouch down and sit cowering like hounds 
in the enclosure of heaven/ 1 and are equally elated 
when the Babylonian Noah offers them sacrifice 
" The gods smelt the sweet savour, the gods gathered 
like flies about him that offered up the sacrifice/' Yet 
the similarity of some of the Babylonian legends with 
the Hebrew narratives without doubt indicates a 
common origin for the two faiths. 


These legends are to be found in various forms. 
The first deserving consideration, though it does not 
present the closest correspondence to the Hebrew 
narrative, is the legend of Creation found on clay 
tablets in the royal library of Nineveh. Though these 
tablets are Assyrian and not Babylonian, still they 
represent Babylonian ideas, being simply Ashurbani- 
pal's copies of Babylonian originals ; and though their 
date is a comparatively late one, still there is no doubt 
that they represent with considerable exactness what 
had been believed for many centuries before in 
Babylonia. The religion of Babylonia had passed 
through two stages before arriving at that in which 
the tablets present it a stage in which Anu, the god 
of heaven, and another in which Ea, the god of the 
abyss and of wisdom, had been the supreme head of 
the Pantheon. The tablets represent the stage in 
which Marduk had taken their place, and give an 
explanation of how he came to be made head of the 
gods. (The real reason, of course, was that Babylon 
having become supreme, Babylon's god Marduk rose 
with his town ; but some less worldly reason had to 
be found to account for his elevation.) 

In the beginning, the legend tells us, when the 
heavens were unnamed and the earth also, when 
the gods did not exist, nor was any fate determined, 
everything was a chaos of waters. "And the earth 
was waste and void ; and darkness was upon the face 
of the deep : and the spirit of God moved upon the 
face of the waters " (Genesis i. 2). This ocean-chaos 
was ruled over by two creatures Apsu, male, and 
Tiamat, female. Tiamat is simply the Hebrew word 
T6h6m, used in Genesis for " the deep." Out of the 


chaos arose great gods, Lakhmu and Lakhamu, followed 
by Anshar and Kishar, the host of heaven, and the 
host of earth. From Anshar and Kishar came Anu f 
the lord of Heaven, and Ea, the lord of the abyss and 
of wisdom. Order being then in a fair way to be 
established by these deities, Apsu and Tiamat, the 
representatives of chaos, rebelled against the new way 
of the gods. Their plots were frustrated by Ea, and 
Apsu and his servant Mummu were overthrown. There 
remained, however, Tiamat, and with the help of a 
god named Kingu she made war upon the gods with 
a terrible horde of evil beings. 

Ea carried the news of the fresh rebellion to the gods, 
and Anu went out as their champion to meet Tiamat ; 
but at the sight of Tiamat and her horde his courage 
failed and he retreated. Nudimmud (or Ea himself) 
shared the same fate, and the gods fell back upon 
Marduk as the only one likely to get them out of their 
difficulty. Accordingly a great meeting of the gods 
was held at their council-chamber " Upshukkinakku." 
A feast was held at which the divinities got very royally 
drunk, and finally they elected Marduk as their cham- 
pion. Marduk, therefore, went forth in his chariot, 
armed with a spear, and a net, and followed by the 
winds. Even he was terrified for the moment by the 
aspect of Tiamat and her host, but plucking up his 
courage, he caught her in his net, drove the winds 
down her throat when she opened her mouth to howl, 
plunged his spear into her vitals, and finally split her 
into halves like a fish, making the firmament above out 
of one-half of her body, and the earth beneath out of 
the other half. The legend goes on to tell how, 
having thus overcome the resistance of chaos, Marduk 


created the stars and established the year, and appointed 
the moon for seasons. 

Then followed the creation of man. Marduk accom- 
plished this by the sacrifice of himself. At his request 
the god Ea cut off his (Marduk's) head, and his blood 
was mixed with earth, and formed into men, who were 
thus endowed with the nature of god. The legend, so 
far as we have it, closes with hymns of praise to 
Marduk ; but it is obviously incomplete, as no account 
is given of the creation of animals or of plants. The 
wonder is that so much has been preserved ; and we 
may hope that further research will yet complete the 

The chief points of resemblance between the Baby- 
lonian and the Hebrew Genesis may be summarized 
thus : According to each a watery chaos preceded 
the creation of the Kosmos. The name of the champion 
of chaos, as we have seen, is the same as the Hebrew 
word for the deep. The creation of light in Genesis 
is the equivalent of Marduk's victory, for Marduk over- 
came Tiamat as a solar god. The creation of the 
Firmament, the solid dome of heaven, to keep the upper 
water in place, belongs to both narratives, and is 
followed in each by the creation of the heavenly bodies 
and their appointment to rule the seasons. Man, in 
both instances, is assumed to stand in very close and 
vital relationship to his Creator. In Genesis he is made 
in God's image and has God's breath breathed into his 
nostrils ; in the Babylonian legend he is made out of 
God's blood. 

The divergences, however, are no less striking, and 
are indeed so obvious that there is no need to detail 
them. Head and front of them all, colouring each 


story in the most unmistakable fashion, is the divergence 
between the Babylonian and the Hebrew conception 
of God. To the Babylonian his gods were altogether 
such as himself, in all the worst aspects of his character. 
They were cowards, drunkards and imbeciles, who 
instead of meeting their enemy, wail feebly that they 
cannot understand the enmity and haired of chaos to 
their new order. Their champion Marduk, makes 
his bargain, like a true Semite, before he agrees to go 
forth against Tiamat, and even then the sight of his 
enemy makes him none too sure of himself. The 
contrast of all this with the serene majesty of the 
opening chapters of the book of Genesis needs no 

Very much closer than any correspondence existing 
between the two Creation stories is that which exists 
between the account of the Deluge given in the Book 
of Genesis, and that preserved in Babylonian sources. 
The latter is preserved for us in the great epic of 
Gilgames, the Babylonian Hercules or Samson. The 
epic is written upon a series of twelve tablets, and 
though like the Creation tablets, these are of com- 
paratively late date, still there is every reason to believe 
that they represent a very ancient tradition, and indeed 
the discovery at Sippara of a small tablet containing a 
very fragmentary account of the Deluge incident of the 
epic proves that the tradition goes back very far indeed, 
as the tablet dates from about 2100 B.C. 

The story of Gilgames is briefly as follows : The 
ancient city of Erech (Gen. x. 10) has been besieged 
and captured by Gilgames, who asserts his authority 
over the conquered citizens in most objectionable ways, 
until at last they complained to their goddess Aruru 


that Gilgames was carrying off all their young men 
for his bodyguard, and their young women for his 
harem. The gods take part with the downtrodden 
citizens and urge Aruru to create a rival to Gilgames. 
This she does, forming a strange creature, half-man 
and half-beast, who is named Ea-bani (or Enki-du). 
Gilgames, a very cautious and thoroughly Semitic hero, 
is rather afraid of meeting Ea-bani in combat, and has 
recourse to guile. 

Under the charge of one of his huntsmen, he sends 
out a beautiful woman, Ukhat, to the place which Ea- 
bani frequents. The composite hero is so overcome 
by her charms that he follows her peacefully to the 
city of Erech, where Gilgames gladly receives him, and 
the two become friends and allies. Shortly thereafter 
the allies go forth to warfare against a terrible Elamite 
tyrant named Khumbaba. The friends penetrate to his 
castle, situated in the midst of a great cedar wood, 
overthrow Khumbaba, and cut off his head. (This 
part of the story may very probably be historical, and 
may refer to some of the frequent early wars between 
Babylonia and Elam.) 

The victory was, however, the source of infinite 
sorrows to the two victors. Ishtar, the Babylonian 
Venus, saw Gilgames as he returned in splendour from 
his triumph over Khumbaba, became enamoured of 
him, and proposed that he should become her husband. 
This was not at all to the mind of Gilgames, who not 
only refused her, but refused her with contumely, 
reciting to her all her previous indiscretions. Ishtar, 
naturally furious, persuaded the god Anu to create a 
monstrous bull named Alu, which was to be the 
medium of her vengeance. Gilgames and Ea-bani, 

however, between them, proved too much for the 
bull ; and when Ishtar complained to the gods that the 
heavenly bull had been slain, Ea-bani's retort was more 
insulting than even that of Gilgames. 

He tore out the entrails oi the bull, 

And he cast them before her, crying 

" As tor thee, I will conquer thee, 

And I will do to thee even as I have done to him." 

For so unpardonable an insult Ishtar was bound to 
take vengeance, and accordingly we find that Ea-bani 
shortly meets his death, probably in battle. 

Gilgames is struck with grief and terror at the thought 
of the death of Ea-bani, and sore sickness which soon 
after falls upon him makes him dread lest he also 
should die. He therefore makes up his mind to seek 
his ancestor Sit-napishtim (or Ut-napishtim), who had 
received the gift of immortality, and to learn from him 
if it might not be possible to evade all-conquering 
death. At this point we get into touch with the hero 
of the Deluge story, the Babylonian Noah. 

The journey to Sit-napishtim was accomplished only 
by the overcoming of many obstacles, and when at last 
Arad-ea, the sailor, had been persuaded to convey 
Gilgames across the Waters of Death, and the hero 
stood before Sit-napishtim, the latter told him that he 
could do nothing to help him, for death must come 
to all. 

As long as houses are built, 

And as long as brethren quarrel, 

And as long as there is hatred in the land, 

And as long as the river beareth its waters to the sea. 

Not unnaturally, Gilgames asked his ancestor how he 
came to be immortal if death was the lot of all men. 



In answer, Sit-napishtim proceeds to tell his own 

During his earthly life, which was spent in the city 
of Shurippak, the inhabitants of the world grew so 
wicked that the god Enlil resolved to destroy them by 
a deluge. But the god Ea, who loved Sit-napishtim, 
resolved to give him warning that he might save him- 
self. Apparently Ea was too much afraid of Enlil to 
give the warning directly ; he compromised by 
speaking to the reed hut in which Sit-napishtim was 
dwelling : 

O reed hut, reed hut ! O wall, wall ! 

O reed hut, hear ! O wall, understand ! 

Thou man of Shurippak, son of Ubara-tutu, 

Pull down thy house, build a ship, 

Forsake thy possessions, take heed for thy life ! 

Directions as to the plan of the ship follow. It is 
to be practically a box, 120 cubits in width, with a 
deck-house 120 cubits in height, divided into six 
storeys, each containing nine rooms. The whole is to 
be coated with bitumen on the outside and with pitch 
on the inside, and Sit-napishtim with his family and 
all his belongings are to embark in it. Sit-napishtim 
obeys and enters the divinely planned ark, which is 
steered by one named Puzur-amurru. Then comes 
the Deluge. For six days the tempest rages and the 
rains fall, till all the mountains are submerged. On 
the seventh day the rains cease, since all mankind, 
save the fortunate voyagers in the ark, are dead. 

At last the ark rests on a mountain named Nisir. 
Seven days later Sit-napishtim, like Noah, sends forth 
a dove to try whether the waters have abated from the 
face of the land ; but the dove can find no rest, and 


returns to the ark. Later, he sends a swallow (here 
the tradition differs from the Biblical one), but the 
swallow also returns. At last he sends out a raven, 
which came near the ark again, " wading and croak- 
ing/' but did not seek to enter. Sit-napishtim therefore 
concluded that he could leave the ark. Coming out 
upon the mountain-top, he built an altar and offered 
sacrifice, and the gods, who apparently had been 
missing their due honours, and were not overpleased 
with Enlil for having destroyed their worshippers, 
greedily clustered to partake of the offering. 

The gods gathered like flies about him that offered up the 

Enlil was furious to find that his vengeance had 
been evaded ; but both Ishtar and Ea taunted and 
rebuked him, till at last, making the best of a bad job, 
he gave Sit-napishtim his blessing and saved his 
own face by making the man who had escaped him 

Hitherto hath Sit-napishtim been of mankind, 
But now let Sit-napishtim be like unto the gods, even us, 
And let Sit-napishtim dwell afar off at the mouth of the river ! 
Then they took me, and afar off, at the mouth of the rivers, 
they made me dwell. 

Manifestly we have here a story which, in spite of 
its considerable variations from the scriptural narrative, 
presents such marked resemblances, amounting prac- 
tically to identity in many cases, as to leave no doubt 
that both of the legends must have sprung from a 
common original. For a discussion of the resem- 
blances and differences the reader is referred to 
11 Babylonian Religion," by L. W. King, pp. 121-145. 


During the recital of Sit-napishtim's adventures 
Gilgames lay sick for six days. On the seventh he fell 
into a deep sleep, and when he returned to conscious- 
ness Sit-napishtim revealed to him the existence of a 
magic plant which had the power of prolonging life. 
Gilgames and Arad-ea set out in search of the plant, 
found it, and took it with them ; but as they drank at 
a brook, a demon in the form of a serpent darted out 
and carried away the treasured plant an incident 
which seems almost to give a distorted version of the 
story of the Tree of Life. Lamenting his misfortune, 
Gilgames returns to Erech, and, still mourning his 
dead friend, succeeds at last in persuading Nerigal, 
the god of the dead, to call up Ea-bani from the under- 
world; and the poem ends with the dead hero's 
melancholy description of the state of those who have 
passed beyond the tomb. 

Even from a sketch so hurried and imperfect as the 
present it must be evident how many points of contact 
there are between Babylonian and Hebrew religion, 
and how important has been the influence exerted, in 
one way or another, by the one faith upon its sister 
belief. It remains to ask how this influence could 
have been exerted. Three alternatives present them- 
selves : (i) The Babylonian beliefs may have been 
derived from the Hebrew ; (2) Both Babylonian and 
Hebrew, being originally of one race, may have 
received them from a common source, and developed 
the variations which now mark them in the course of 
their separate national existences ; (3) The Hebrew 
beliefs may have been derived directly from Babylon. 

Of these alternatives (i) is obviously impossible. 
The Babylonian legends were ancient long before 


there was such a thing as a Hebrew nation ; (3), 
though Mr. L. W. King gives it the weight of his 
great authority, seems almost as impossible as (i), the 
impossibility arising in this case, not from any question 
of date, but from one of the character and importance 
of the divergences. We are thrown back upon (2), 
which alone seems to meet the facts of the case ; and 
we conclude that Babylonian and Hebrew both drew 
the conceptions which make the background of their 
faith from a common source rising far in prehistoric 
times,* and that after the parting of the ways, marked 
by Abram's great venture of faith, each developed the 
common stock of tradition in accordance with its own 
spiritual genius, and the light vouchsafed to it. 

* On one of the tablets discovered at Nippur, Dr. Langdon has 
recently found a new account of the Deluge, "clearly the original of 
that preserved in the Book of Genesis." The tablet, which is written 
in Sumerian, also contains a reference, the first to be discovered in 
Babylonian literature, to the story of the Fall. The account of the 
incident is very fragmentary, but, as in Genesis, the Fall is attributed 
to the eating of a certain fruit in this case, cassia. ' Of the cassia he 
took ... he ate ... the plant which determined their fate there she 
came upon. Ninharse in the name of Enki uttered a curse : * Here- 
after life until he dies may he not see.' " The medicinal reputation of 
the cassia no doubt accounts for its name being used in connexion 
\vith the Fall, and the tablet serves as another link in the already strong 
chain that connects the religious origins of the Babylonian and the 


1. TMK Nll.K AT TIIKI'.KS ( />. r()(>) 




WE have now to do with the land to which the Hebrew 
race probably owed more, both for good and evil, than 
to any other country on earth. As we have seen, the 
Hebrews were influenced strongly by the two other 
great empires of the ancient world. Babylonia was the 
cradle of the race, and in its later history the two great 
nations from the land of the Tigris and Euphrates 
proved the deciding factors in its destiny. Assyria 
swept away the Ten Tribes, Babylon destroyed Jeru- 
salem, and carried off.the Judaean section of the people 
into that Exile which was so fruitful in shaping the 
later thought and religious development of the Jews. 
But these lands virtually touched the Hebrews only at 
the very beginning, and towards the end. of their 

The influence of Egypt began early, if not quite so 
early as that of Babylonia, and it continued steadily all 
through. Egypt was the refuge of the Patriarchs, 
the training-school of the two greatest of early Hebrew 
statesmen, Joseph and Moses, the asylum of the whole 
race, within whose shelter they grew into a people, the 
tyrant whose oppression taught them their solidarity 
as a nation. 

With the Exodus this formative influence becomes 

262 EGYPT 

transmuted into a political influence. Egypt, unlike 
Babylonia, contributes comparatively little to Hebrew 
thought ; but in the political sphere she remains a 
powerful, and also a dangerous and sinister figure. All 
through the history of Israel you find the great southern 
power constantly interfering in the affairs of Palestine, 
and almost invariably her interference is disastrous to 
the Hebrew State. Sometimes she comes as an open 
enemy, to ravage and destroy ; sometimes professedly 
as a friend, offering her alliance against the northern 
powers. But her friendship is even more fatal than 
her enmity. 

The whole course of events in the later history of 
the Jewish Kingdom was profoundly modified for evil 
by the ceaseless meddling and the actual impotence of 
E gypt- The Jewish statesmen were under the glamour 
of her ancient power and fame. Dazzled by the great 
past, and unable to realize the present helplessness of 
the land of the Nile, they failed entirely to estimate the 
forces with which they were dealing, and in spite of 
the constant warnings of the prophets, who were the 
only far-seeing statesmen of the race, they cast what 
little weight Judah possessed into the scale of Egypt 
precisely at the moment when the balance was turning 
irretrievably in favour of the northern powers. Politi- 
cally, at all events, the downfall of the Jewish State was 
due to its reliance on its ancient enemy of the House 
of Bondage more than to any other cause. 

All the same, we must not ignore the part which 
Egypt played for good in the early days. She came to 
be the Oppressor in the days when " another king arose 
that knew not Joseph/' Later she was the temptress 
who led the Hebrews to destruction the type of 


specious promise and poor performance. But for many 
a year, in the helpless childhood of the nation, she was 
the kindly foster-mother, without whose guardianship 
and care there might never have been a Hebrew race 
at all. 

In trying to arrive at some knowledge of the main 
outlines of the character and achievement of the 
Egyptian people one of the most remarkable races 
of the world's history, alike for its powers, and for the 
strange limitations of those powers we have to con- 
sider first the land and its peculiarities ; for no country 
has left a deeper impress upon the character of its 
inhabitants than has Egypt. 

We have to do with a land as different from Palestine 
as can be imagined. Instead of a mountain-land, we 
have one which, in all its habitable portion at least, is 
practically as flat as a table. Instead of a small com- 
pact territory, we have a narrow long-drawn-out land 
straggling in sinuous bends like a serpent for hundreds 
of miles. Instead of general barrenness, with occasional 
patches of fertility, we have, perhaps, the most wonder- 
fully fertile soil to be found anywhere on this planet. 
Practically the only point of resemblance between the 
two lands is that Egypt is just about as remarkably 
isolated as Palestine from the rest of the world. 

Looking at an ordinary map of Egypt, one sees a 
lengthy oblong, its greatest dimension extending north 
and south, with a great river pursuing a winding course 
through the centre in an almost due northerly direction. 
Measuring this oblong, you get a fairly large area 
about 350,000 square miles. But the Egypt of the 
maps and the Egypt in which men live are two veiy 
different things. The first thing to be done is to rule 

164 EGYPT 

out of your estimate about twenty-nine thirtieths of 
the area which you see. The real Egypt is the narrow 
strip of flat alluvial land lying on either side of the 
River Nile between the stream and the mountains 
which rise both east and west. All the rest is almost 
absolutely barren. 

Between the Nile and the Red Sea on the east lie the 
Arabian mountains, wild and desolate to the last degree. 
No Egyptian ever lived among them save when one or 
other of the Pharaohs sent an expedition up one of the 
burning valleys to cut stone for some of his huge 
building enterprises. The only use of that great 
mountain area was to serve as a quarry, sometimes 
also as a gold-mine, for there were gold-bearing veins 
among the hills, and the earliest map in the world is a 
map drawn, a little before the supposed date of the 
Exodus, for one of the Pharaoh's gold-seeking 
expeditions. It was a land of thirst and famine and 
the Shadow of Death. On the western side of the 
river rise the Libyan mountains, almost more desolate, 
if that be possible, than the Arabian range, featureless 
and ignoble in outline, and sloping off westwards to 
the utter barrenness of the Sahara in a great plateau, 
on whose arid surface are still found the chipped flint 
weapons and tools of the Neolithic inhabitants of 
the land. 

Actually, then, Egypt is the two banks of the Nile, a 
winding ribbon of green, stretching for almost 750 miles 
including its zig-zags, from the First Cataract at Aswan 
to the Mediterranean. Of course, the Egyptians knew 
and conquered the land south of the First Cataract. 
Nubia was generally in their power, at least throughout 
the great days of the Empire, and they sent expeditions 


1. DOUBLE SHADUF AT WORK (pp. 1 68 6 169) 

2. SAKKIEH OR WATER WHEEL (//. 1 68 6 169) 


into and drew tribute of gold-dust, ivory, and ebony 
from the Sudan ; but the real historic Egypt lay 
between the First Cataract and the sea. 

The width of the ribbon of soil varies, as the hills 
draw closer to the river or recede from it. At some 
points there is no more than a mile of flat land between 
the river and the cliffs ; the width of the valley may be 
on an average about ten miles ; practically at no 
point does it exceed thirty. Nowhere is the boundary 
between the desert and cultivable land drawn so 
sharply as in Egypt. Whenever you get beyond the 
range of the fertilizing waters of the river, desert begins 
at once ; and you may stand with one foot in the fresh 
green of a luxuriant crop and the other in the barren 
sand of the wilderness, 

The Nile Valley proper ends, however, not at the sea, 
but at a point more than 100 miles south of it, where 
the present capital of the land, Cairo, stands, and not 
far from which one of the ancient capitals, Memphis, 
stood in days of old. Here the Delta of the Nile 
begins, and gradually widens out into a broad fan- 
shaped plain, through which the river straggles in two 
great branches, and curiously enough, with ever- 
diminishing volume, to the sea at Rosetta and Damietta. 

Many thousand years ago, when the world was still 
in the rough, the mouth of the Nile, a much greater 
river then than it is now, was at Cairo, and the Delta 
was a great shallow bay of the Mediterranean. But 
year by year the silt brought down by the river choked 
the bay and thrust back the sea, until at last the land 
reached its present limits. The Delta is just a great 
expanse of river-mud, flat and featureless, but of the 
most extraordinary fertility. 

166 EGYPT 

You are to imagine the land of Egypt then as one of 
the simplest and most monotonous of countries. A 
broad shining river flowing gently northwards with 
very moderate speed, and unbroken from Aswan to the 
sea by a single rapid a flat bank covered with crops, 
dotted with white villages, and here and there diver- 
sified with groups of graceful palm trees the whole 
framed on either side, once you have passed from the 
Delta to the Nile Valley proper, by a line of tall cliffs 
behind which lies the desert ; that is the picture, and 
the more it changes the more it remains the same 
thing ; each bend of the river only brings a repetition 
of what you saw in the last reach. Egypt is a series of 
variations on a single theme, an endless succession of 
bright river, green bank and golden cliff with the 
brilliant and undimmed sunlight bathing everything. 

On the other hand, if the land is monotonous, it 
possesses the most perfect climate in the world. The 
temperature in the narrow valley often rises to tropical 
heat ; but, even so, it is rarely oppressive, and the air 
is pure and invigorating. Further, this monotonous 
land has from time immemorial been the most steadily 
fertile country in the world. Scripture adds its 
testimony to that of other authorities in this respect. 
Each time that the Hebrews, in the early days of the 
race, came into contact with the Nile Valley, it was 
famine that took them there ; and when other lands 
were starving there was always " corn in Egypt." Yet 
Egypt is practically a rainless land. Even on the 
coast-line from Port Said to Alexandria, the rainfall is 
only from 4 to 8 inches per annum. At Cairo it is only 
i inch ; and in Upper Egypt a shower is a pheno- 
menon, which may occur only once in a dozen years, 


and which, when it does occur, causes consternation 
and damage rather than anything else. 

The reason of the fertility of a land thus rainless 
is, of course, the annual inundation. "Egypt," as 
Herodotus said, "is the gift of the Nile," and no one 
ever put more truth about a country into a single 
sentence. " It is no exaggeration/' writes Professor J t 
A. Todd, " to say that if a hostile power in the Sudan 
were to divert the waters of the Nile (and the idea is 
not so utterly impossible as it may seem), there would 
not be a blade of corn or a human being left alive in 
Egypt after one summer." The Nile made Egypt to 
begin with, slowly depositing the soil of the banks 
between which it runs ; and the Nile renews Egypt 
every year. 

Swollen by the rains which fall in February in 
Equatorial Africa, the river begins to rise early in 
spring. The melting of the snows on the Abyssinian 
mountains brings down the Blue Nile in flood to join 
the rising White Nile at Khartum, and the inundation 
is generally signalled at Cairo between June 17 and 20. 
It reaches its height about the middle of July, when 
the dykes and embankments are cut, and the life- 
giving waters are allowed to flow over the land till 
the lower levels of the country become a sheet of 
turbid water, out of which the villages rise like islands. 
As the flood gradually subsides, it leaves behind it a 
fresh layer of new soil, and the land, thus renewed 
every year, seems inexhaustible in its fertility. 

Egypt was the granary of the ancient world. Just 
as in the Patriarchs' days the tribes of the surrounding 
lands found supplies in it when their own had failed, 
so in Roman times the great imperial city drew her 

168 EGYPT 

stores from the Nile Valley. The Alexandrian corn- 
ships were the most familiar of Mediterranean traders, 
and both of the ships in which St. Paul made his 
memorable voyage to Rome were of this class. Even 
to-day, after so many centuries of steady cropping, 
the return is amazing. " Spill a bucket of water on 
the desert/' says a modern writer, " and it will grow 
green things for months afterwards." It has been 
stated that it is not uncommon for seven crops to be 
raised in fifteen months off a good field. 

When any piece of land seemed unusually fertile to 
an Oriental, it was to Egypt that he compared it. 
" Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of 
Jordan, that it was well-watered everywhere .... even 
as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt" 
(Gen. xiii. 10). And the great ground of complaint 
of the Israelites in their desert wanderings was the 
contrast of their monotonous diet of manna with the 
abundance and variety of the Nile Valley. " We 
remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely ; 
the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the 
onions, and the garlick" (Numbers xi. 5). 

All this fertility, however, is not, and never has been, 
attained without constant and severe labour. The 
pleasing idea that the river does everything, and that 
the Egyptian peasant has nothing to do but wait upon 
its bounty, is very far from the truth. To a great part 
of the land the inundation never reaches at all, and 
the waters of the river have to be raised to the higher 
level ; while during several months of the year, when 
the river is low, irrigation has to be constantly carried 
on everywhere. So, all along the banks, the shaduf is 
constantly at work(Plate XXXII, i). Along pole swings 


on a beam between two uprights ; at one end hangs a 
bucket, at the other is a counterpoise in the shape of 
a lump of hardened Nile mud. The fellah pulls down 
the bucket till it dips in the river ; then the counter- 
poise swings the full bucket up, and it is emptied into 
a trough at the higher level, from which the water is 
led by a little canal through the fields. If the river be 
low, or if the bank be high, a second shaduf may work 
into the trough filled by the first, and even a third into 
that of the second, until the water is painfully and 
laboriously raised to the proper level. These shadufs 
are just about the most unchanged survival of ancient 
days. If Abraham or Moses could return to Egypt 
they would find the fellah of to-day raising water by 
identically the same process which his forefathers 
used in the days of the Middle Kingdom or the New 

The little canals running through the fields have 
their own tiny dykes, and when the cultivator wishes 
to flood any part of his field he does so by the simple 
expedient of thrusting aside with his foot a few inches 
of the earthen wall of the little canal. He did exactly 
the same in Bible days ; so that, when Moses wished 
to teach his people the difference between the land of 
Canaan and the land from which they had come out, 
he told them that Palestine was a country where 
agriculture waited for the showers of heaven, instead 
of bringing, as in Egypt, the waters of the river across 
its fields. " For the land, whither thou goest in to 
possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye 
came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst 
it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs ; but the land 
whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and 

1 70 EGYPT 

valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven " 
(Deut. xi. 10, IT). One of the results of the British 
occupation promises to be the gradual changing of 
these picturesque and ancient irrigation customs. 
The huge barrage at Aswan, with its auxiliary at 
Assiout, makes the country far less dependent than for- 
merly upon the inundation, and secures a more even 
distribution of water over the land, besides bringing 
into cultivation many hundreds of thousands of acres 
formerly unreached by water, and therefore barren. 

The importance of the great river to the people of 
the land is very clearly reflected in the Bible narrative 
never more vivid and picturesque than when it is 
dealing with Egypt. The fat kine and the lean kine 
of Pharaoh's dream come up out of the river, emblems 
of the fat years or lean years given by a good or a bad 
inundation. When the plague of the defiled Nile 
(itself only the exaggeration of the unwholesome red 
Nile which precedes the inundation) fell upon them, 
the Egyptians were smitten in one of their most 
cherished objects of worship, for the Nile was a god, 
and one of the most diligently worshipped gods of 
their Pantheon. 

But the Nile was not only the great source of 
fertility ; it was, and is still, the great means of transit 
and the great avenue of trade. Living in his long, 
narrow land, where travelling on foot would be an 
endless burden, the Egyptian, long before the dawn 
of history, realized the possibilities of water-travel, 
and if he was not the first boat-builder in the world, 
we, at least, know of none before him. He never 
became a very great sailor, though he has some 
wonderful achievements to his credit too ; it was, for 


instance, a fleet sent out by that same Pharaoh Necho 
who slew Josiah of Judah at Megiddo that first doubled 
the Cape of Good Hope, ages before Vasco da Gama 
was thought of. But though he was always somewhat 
of a timid navigator on ll the Very Green," as he called 
the open sea, he was quite at home on his own great 
river. From the very earliest days of history the Nile 
was covered, as it is still, with fleets of boats, in the 
structure of which the peculiarities of the land asserted 
themselves as everywhere else. This is not the place 
to show the influence that Egyptian design has exerted 
upon all subsequent ship-building an influence so 
enduring that the big racing cutter of to-day shows 
manifest traces of its direct descent from the primitive 
sailing-boat of the Nile Valley. But there were purely 
local peculiarities which have their own interest to the 
Bible student. 

We have all made paper boats in our time ; but the 
Egyptians were probably the only people who ever 
used them habitually for the practical purposes of 
sport and traffic. For the material of which the 
lighter Egyptian craft were made is simply that papyrus 
reed which has given one of its names to our paper, 
as its other name, li biblos," has given us the title of 
our Bible. It was the same plant out of which the 
mother of Moses made the little ark for her baby. 
The paper boats of Egypt were things which struck 
the imagination of every one who knew the land. 
" Woe," says Isaiah (xviii. i, 2), "to the land shadow- 
ing with wings . . . that sendeth ambassadors by the 
sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters." 

All the industries and most of the sports of the land 
were dependent on the great river. No feature of 

172 EGYPT 

Egyptian life is more commonly represented in the 
tomb paintings or reliefs than the craft of the fisher. 
We see the great noble in his little papyrus skiff 
launching his double-pointed harpoon with unerring 
skill, or the professional fisherman hauling his net with 
its abundant spoil for the market. And when Isaiah 
wishes to describe the utter desolation that shall befall 
the land, his whole picture is full of details of the Nile, 
with its canals and ponds. " And the Egyptians will I 
give over into the hand of a cruel lord. . . . And the 
waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be 
wasted and dried up. And they shall turn the rivers 
far away ; and the brooks of defence (the moats around 
the city walls, filled with Nile water) shall be emptied 
and dried up : the reeds and flags shall wither. The 
paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks 
and everything sown by the brooks, shall wither, be 
driven away, and be no more. The fishers also shall 
mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks 
shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters 
shall languish. Moreover they that work in fine flax, 
and they that weave networks shall be confounded. 
And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all 
that make sluices and ponds for fish " (Isaiah xix. 4-10). 
To an Egyptian that was a true picture of the most 
absolute desolation that could come upon his land. 

A country so absolutely unique as Egypt could not 
fail to leave its impress upon the character of the race 
which inhabited it. Probably the extraordinarily early 
rise of the Egyptian nation to a state of high organiza- 
tion and civilization was largely due to the conditions 
imposed upon it by the land. Where you have a 
country needing constant irrigation, you have a country 



that, for its very life, must have an organized govern- 
ment which can regulate this vital work, and impose 
its due share of the task upon each district. And so 
organized government arose in Egypt when most other 
States had not dreamed of such a thing, and one of the 
first officials whom we meet with perhaps 4000 
years B.C. is the Commander of the Inundation. 
Somewhat similar conditions led to similar results in 
Babylonia where also irrigation was a necessity of life. 
It is by no accident that the first organized govern- 
ments we know of arose precisely in the two lands where 
the regulation of the water-supply was a matter of life 
or death. Further, the same necessity forced the 
Egyptian from the beginning to be an engineer and 
builder. The men who had to bridle and control the 
vast forces of the Nile as a condition of gaining their 
daily bread could not fail to be taught the lesson of 
organized labour, and the way of dealing with great 
masses of material. And so the river was the school 
where the Egyptian acquired the skill which made him 
perhaps the greatest builder that the world has ever 

On the other hand, the character of the land imposed 
upon the Egyptian race certain limitations which it 
never altogether conquered. First of these was the 
extreme difficulty of maintaining a centralized govern- 
ment. Government first sprang up there ; but no- 
where was it more difficult to maintain unity of govern- 
ment. The long, straggling, narrow land always 
tended to divide politically into sections. The Delta, 
for instance, tended to separate from the upper valley ; 
so much so that the very title of the Pharaoh reflects 
the tendency. Pharaoh is always " Lord of the Two 

174 EGYPT 

Lands "Upper and Lower Egypt. This disunion 
was a perpetual source of weakness throughout the 
national history. 

Almost more important and disastrous was the 
religious effect of the same conditions. Each little 
district and township along the great river was more 
or less isolated. It had neighbours only on two sides, 
and these the shortest sides, of its boundary ; so it 
cultivated a little parochial life of its own, and at the 
heart of that life was always the local god the god of the 
city or of the district. And thus Egypt never attained to 
what was reached by a much less highly gifted nation, 
such as the Hebrews the idea of one God, supreme 
over all. Her religion never became a unity. Out of 
the confused mass of local gods, one or another rose 
to primacy for a while as his town or district grew in 
importance, and then sank back into insignificance 
with the political decadence of his worshippers. To 
talk of the " Thousand gods of the Egyptians " was no 
figure of speech, but a mere literal statement of fact ; 
and the object of worship in one district might be an 
object of contempt in the next. And so Egyptian 
religion is a chaos of conflicting ideas, out of which it 
is impossible to draw anything approaching to an 
ordered creed. Once, indeed, in the nation's history 
an attempt was made to bring about religious unity. 
It was made heroically by a man centuries in advance 
of his time ; but it ended in disastrous failure, and, 
from the beginning to the end of their national story, 
the Egyptians were worshippers of " gods many and 
lords many." 

One religious idea, however, possessed the whole 
nation in a fashion so remarkable as to give the Egyptian 


an altogether unique place in the spiritual history of the 
human race. No people in the world's history has 
ever so recognized the hope of immortality and so craved 
for its fulfilment as did the people of the Nile Valley. 
How that hope came to them, we do not know ; but 
from the dawn of history we find them cherishing it, 
and their whole lives were profoundly modified by it, 
so much so that by reason of this hope they have 
become to us the best known of all the peoples of the 
ancient world. How is it that we know so much about 
the ancient Egyptians ? Simply because they believed 
so firmly in the life everlasting that they gave far more 
attention to the preparation and equipment of their 
tombs than they bestowed upon their houses or palaces. 
To know what the Assyrian was you turn to the 
sculptured slabs of his royal palaces, and learn of little 
but the strifes and cruelties of kings. Scarcely a trace 
of an Egyptian palace has survived ; but the whole 
story of Egyptian life, high and lowly alike, is pictured 
on the walls of the most wonderful tombs that human 
hands have ever reared or hewn. 

One more influence of the land upon its inhabitants 
may be noted the influence upon the art of the race. 
The Egyptians were a people wonderfully gifted 
artistically, but with very evident and strange limita- 
tions. Possibly it was the flat and tame monotony 
of their land that inspired them with the idea of 
gigantic bulk which finds expression in so many of 
their works. In a land of mountains man is so 
insignificant that it is not worth his while to attempt 
to rival nature ; but in the flat featureless valley of the 
Nile man could dominate nature and impose his 
works upon her. So in Egypt there grew up the 

176 EGYPT 

hugest tombs, the hugest temples, and the most 
gigantic statues that man's hands have ever reared. 

On the other hand, the monotony of his sur- 
roundings cramped the Egyptian's mind. In his work 
you find little or nothing of the daring and free fancy 
of the Greek. Early in his history, so early that one 
marvels at the thing, he evolved a type of repre- 
sentation of men and things, characterized, so far as 
it went, by a most amazing accuracy and life likeness ; 
but that type he went on repeating with only minor 
modifications from first to last, executing it a little 
better or a little worse, as the case might be, but 
never striking out into a new line, and never trans- 
gressing the rules handed down through unnumbered 
generations. Never was a race so gifted, bound 
so utterly hand and foot by the traditions of the 

Such, then, was the land and the people under 
whose protection the Hebrew race grew into a nation. 
We owe to Egypt and the Egyptians an almost infinite 
debt. They gave to the race to whom God had 
entrusted the seed of divine truth that shelter without 
which the seed might never have matured. Once 
more, as Egypt was the refuge of the early hope of 
Israel, so it was the refuge of the early hope of 
Christianity, when Joseph "took the young child and 
his mother by night, and departed into Egypt" to 
escape the wrath of Herod. And as this land was the 
foster-mother of the two great faiths of the world, so 
it has been the foster-mother of nearly all that we prize 
in modern civilization. To no other country on earth 
can we trace so many of the beginnings of the arts and 
crafts which make modern life possible. The first 



. TOMI; ( /. 175) 


writing, the first book, the first picture, the first statue, 
to name only a few things among many, for all these, 
and for how many others, you must go back to the 
wonderful Land of the Nile. 




WE have seen already that in Palestine we had to do 
with a land which had a long history behind it before 
ever the Hebrews appeared upon the scene. Baby- 
lonia presented to us the picture of a civilization still 
more ancient and much more highly developed than 
that of pre-Biblical Palestine. And in Egypt we meet 
with a civilization which, in respect both of age and of 
development, ranks with that of Babylonia. 

The Nile Valley was not only civilized when its first 
contact with the Hebrew race occurred ; its civilization 
was already of venerable antiquity. It was the seat of 
an empire already hoary with age, which had existed 
for many centuries, and many of whose triumphs lay 
far behind it in the past, when Abraham first was 
driven by famine to its friendly shelter. By the time 
that Joseph was sold as a slave, this empire had passed 
away in a great overthrow by foreign invasion. The 
king who then sat upon the throne, though he bore 
an Egyptian title and governed according to Egyptian 
customs, was no Egyptian by race, but a member of 
that same great Semitic family from which Joseph 
himself had sprung. And when Moses had to deal 
with the power and pride of Pharaoh, this alien race, 
too, had passed away ; another empire of great power 
and glory had succeeded it, and after generations of 



strength and brilliant achievement, was itself now far 
on the way towards decay and overthrow. 

It is extremely difficult for us to realize adequately 
such vast spaces of time as we are confronted with when 
we deal with an empire like that of the Nile Valley. 
A period of eight and a half centuries covers the whole 
development of our own land from the Norman Con- 
quest to the present day ; but the known historical 
period of Ancieni: Egypt before the Exodus, taking 
the lowest scheme of dates, is practically three times 
as long as that. The whole duration of the kingdoms of 
Israel and Judah, from Saul to the Captivity, is just about 
one-eighth part of the duration of the kingdom of Egypt. 

Nowhere else in the world do you meet with relics 
of ancient greatness, still overwhelmingly great and 
imposing, which carry you back to a time when almost 
all other nations were sunk in barbarism ; nowhere 
else do you meet with buildings, still comparatively 
unchanged, which were already venerable when the 
grey forefathers of Bible history looked upon them in 
all their splendour. The Pyramids were so old when 
Abraham first saw them that they scarcely seem to 
have grown very much older since ; and the great 
temple at Heliopolis, at whose renowned priestly 
college Moses may have been trained in all the wisdom 
of the Egyptians, was already far older than our oldest 
cathedral or university when the future leader of Israel 
read his first lesson in the quaint picture-writing of 
Egypt under the shadow of its towering obelisks one 
of which still stands to-day, after looking down upon 
so many ages more. 

There is no record in all earth's history of any 
other race which rose so early to, and continued so 

i8o EGYPT 

long upon, the very highest level of civilization. In 
comparison the story of Assyria is but a brief interlude, 
and even that of Babylonia, though it may begin as 
early, is broken and incomplete. Our object in this 
chapter, then, is to try to outline something of the 
achievement of this wonderful people in the early days 
before their destiny had come to be so closely inter- 
woven with that of the Chosen People. 

How far back must we go in order to get at the 
beginning of things in the Nile Valley ? Dealing with 
the races of Palestine, we saw that with the cave- 
dwelling Horites we might perhaps go back to some- 
where round about 5000 B.C. ; but to find an Egypt at 
the same stage it is quite possible that you might have 
to take a huge backward stride of thousands of years. 
Probably 10,000 B.C. might not be too early a date to 
suggest for the first rude cave-dwellers and flint-workers 
of the Nile Valley. 

The men who lived in Egypt at the time when the 
Horites were digging their darksome caves, and 
scratching their first attempts at art upon scraps of 
bone at Gezer, were already highly civilized and organ- 
ized. They had reared great structures, they had 
formed an ordered State, they had already arrived at 
certain definite conclusions as to religion and the life 
everlasting, and they had made considerable progress 
in the development of that without which no people 
can express itself a system of writing. We knew, of 
course, that the old stories which the Greeks heard and 
recorded from Egyptian sources of incredibly ancient 
and powerful lines of kings in Egypt, were not all 
mere fables, for the Pyramids stood to witness for the 
truth of some of them. But, till a few years ago, no 


- y^.-* -JL, .-~w , 

MM I, Ml 'II-.MIM.K VI M'ADOS (pp. I Hi 


more than that could be said. The Pyramids formed, 
as it were, the boundary fence between history and 
fable ; the Pyramid builders were at the very beginning 
of things ; and it seemed as though Egypt, among all 
its wonders, offered this as the first and chief of them 
all, that at once, and without any preparation, its people 
began their story by rearing the hugest buildings that' 
the hand of man has ever raised. 

Things do not happen that way, however, in reality- 
The great achievements of the race never come by 
sudden inspiration, theyj lie at the end of long vistas 
of preparation ; and now we know, at least, a little 
of the long days of training, and of how far back 
the story of human effort in the Nile Valley actually 

Several hundred miles up the Nile, and not very far 
north of the great city which was afterwards known as 
Thebes, lay a town which the Egyptians called Abtu, 
and which we, following the Greeks, call Abydos 
a very different place, of course, from the Abydos of 
Greece. It was, perhaps, the most holy place in all 
Egypt; f r there stood the tomb and the temple of the 
God of the Resurrection, Osiris. Later, we shall learn 
how the Egyptians believed that he died and rose again 
and became the King of the Underworld and the source 
of immortal life to all who believed in him. It was 
held that he had been buried at Abydos ; and so, 
because the hope of immortal life was the strongest of 
all Egyptian beliefs, every true Egyptian wished to be 
buried at Abydos, or if that were not possible, at least 
to send something, if it were only an earthenware jar ? 
to represent him at the resting-place of his god. To 
such a length was this custom carried that to-day 

182 EGYPT 

Ahydos is a wilderness of broken earthenware, and the 
Arabs call it " Umm el Ga'ab," "The Mother of 

Some years ago Professor Flinders Petrie began 
exploration at Abydos, and there he found one after 
another, the ancient tombs of kings who had lived 
and reigned in Egypt centuries before the Pyramids 
were thought of kings who go back into the misty 
dawn of time when the world was young. " All the 
kings of the nations/' said Isaiah once, "even all of 
them lie in glory, every one in his own house." There 
they had lain, these incredibly ancient kings, forgotten 
long before Isaiah spoke, " all of them in glory, every 
one in his own house/' and around their dust lay the 
relics of their splendour, pathetic in their uselessness, 
but wonderful as a revelation of the thoughts and the 
skill of the men of those far-off days. 

The tombs were great underground chambers, some of 
them lined with wood, some of them floored with finely 
hewn granite or limestone the earliest stonework that 
we know of in the world. And everywhere was the 
proof that these men believed in the life everlasting, 
and hoped to live again in the shadowy world beyond 
death. Their tombs were furnished as carefully, and 
almost as elaborately, as their palaces had been. There 
were chairs and couches of the most exquisite work- 
manship in ivory and ebony, household utensils, beauti- 
ful vessels beaten out of bronze, or hewn out of the 
hardest stone, such as basalt or cliorite, so skilfully 
that the light shines through them, toilet requisites, 
weapons everything that the silent tenant of the grave 
might require in the other world. Gold bracelets of 
fine design and execution still shone on the skeleton 


arm of the queen, that she might not lack her fitting 
adornment when she rose to new life. 

Strangest of all in these earliest of days there were 
inscriptions that can still be read, man's first attempts 
at expressing himself in the language which he had 
been gradually shaping through generation after 
generation. Sometimes it is only the name of a king 
who doubtless was a mighty man in his day. Some- 
times there is a sentence which suggests the moralizing 
of some earliest of poets or philosophers. "The Big 
Heads/' says one such sentence, meaning the mighty 
men, " come to the tomb." 

There is no armour against fate, 
Death lays his icy hand on kings. 

There were suggestions of a darker side to the belief 
in immortality. Around the great tombs were grouped 
many humbler ones not only those of courtiers and 
officials, but those of slaves as well. Were they 
slaughtered at the great man's grave, to accompany 
and serve him in the world beyond as they had done 
in this ? It seems more than likely that such was the 
case, though the Egyptian was not long in passing 
away from such a barbarity. Near the tomb of the 
man who, of all these early rulers, is most interesting 
to us Mena, the legendary first king of Egypt lay 
that of his young daughter " Bener-ab," he called 
her, " Sweetheart." So love and sorrow went side by 
side in those far-off days even as they do now. 

Everything told of a highly developed and fully 
organized State. The great officers of the nation were 
named. The leader of the Peers (Lord Chancellor of 
these ancient days), the Master of Ceremonies, the 
Commander of the Inundation, and so forth, showing 

1 84 EGYPT 

the existence of a thoroughly wrought-out system of 
government. In fact those few months of excavation 
had rolled back the veil of forgotten centuries, and 
made even the Pyramids seem young. 

All this, of course, is strictly prehistoric. We know 
nothing, and probably never shall know anything of the 
history of the men the wrecks of whose splendours 
have thus been disclosed. But now we gradually begin 
to get into touch with historic Egypt, and to see men 
emerging whose works can be definitely identified, and 
still remain to bear witness to them. First of these 
was a king named Zeser, whom the Egyptians regarded 
as the founder of what they called the Third Dynasty. 
Zeser's chief distinction is that he knew how to use the 
services of a wise man when he found one. His great 
servant was a man named Imhotep, in whom we can 
trace the curious process of a human being gradually 
turning into a god. His counsel, like Ahithophel's, 
was as though one inquired at the oracle of God. 
When his countrymen looked back, they saw his figure 
standing like Sargon of Akkad in Babyloniaat the 
beginning of things their first really great man. They 
began to reverence and then to adore him as something 
more than man ; and by the time the Greeks came they 
found old Imhotep firmly established as a god of 
wisdom and of healing, in whom they recognized their 
own god Asklepios or Aesculapius. No doubt the old 
Egyptian architect would have been greatly surprised 
could he have foreseen the destiny which awaited him. 

For his master this great man built two tombs, one 
at Abydos, near the tombs of the earlier kings. But 
this was never finished or occupied. King Zeser and 
his architect had dreamed of greater things, and so near 


Memphis, Imhotcp began the first stone building that 
we know of on earth, apart from the mere lining of 
some of the Abydos tombs. It was a great mass of 
stone, 195 feet high, rising in six successive terraces 
above the ground, while the actual tomb of the 
monarch was hewn deep in the living rock beneath. 
And it shows us the first Egyptian idea of a Pyramid 
before the conception had become definitely settled 
and stereotyped. 

Later kings of this race distinguished themselves in 
other ways one, for instance, sending a fleet year by 
year to Syria to bring back cedar wood from Lebanon, 
as Solomon bought it later for his great buildings. 
And then, certainly not later than 3000 B.C., possibly 
more than 1000 years earlier, came the man whose 
one surviving work has made his name known over all 
the world, and will keep it known, in all probability, so 
long as there are human beings on earth. This was 
Khufu, whom we used to know as Cheops, the man 
who built the Great Pyramid. 

There is no picture more familiar to us than that of 
Khufu's great building. We all recognize that it stands 
for a very big, and, as it seems to us, a very useless, 
fabric. Probably most of us have the vaguest of ideas 
as to how big it is, or why it was built. To say that it 
was originally 480 feet high, that it measures 755 feet 
on each side, that it covers 13 acres of ground, and 
weighs six million tons all this means nothing to us. 
We may realize the scale of Khufu's work better from 
the fact that a town of the size of Aberdeen might be 
built out of the stones of the Great Pyramid. Many of 
the great blocks weigh from 40 to 50 tons apiece ; and 
in the careful casing work these huge masses are so 

186 EGYPT 

exquisitely jointed that the joints can scarcely be 
detected, and have to be blackened with charcoal if 
it is wished to indicate them in a photograph. 

And this was done 5000 years ago at the very least, 
at what cost of human life and labour who can tell, by 
men whom our age would count uncivilized. They were 
anything but that. No amount of mere brute force could 
ever have reared such a structure. It means wisdom, 
foresight, skill, organization, and adaptation of means 
to ends to an almost incredible extent. Why was such 
a building ever erected ? All sorts of extraordinary 
theories have been propounded to account for it. It 
has been held to be an observatory, surely the most 
cumbrous and inefficient ever planned ; while other 
enthusiasts have contended that within its bulk are 
recorded Divine revelations of the standards of length, 
weight and capacity. The truth is much simpler and 
more remarkable. The Great Pyramid was reared, 
like its neighbours, simply as a tomb ; and it was 
reared so vast because the despot who was to sleep in 
it believed with all his heart in the life eternal, and 
wished to make it absolutely certain for himself. 

For the Egyptian, as we may learn more fully later, 
somehow associated immortality with the preservation 
of the body, or at least of the likeness of the body. 
The soul had to have some recognizable resemblance 
of its earthly dwelling-place to return to at need. And 
so Khufu piled this mountain of stone above the 
chamber where his coffin was to lie, that no man 
might ever disturb his body's repose, but that it might 
lie there, century after century, visited only at need 
by the wandering soul. Selfish enough, no doubt, to 
attach so much importance to the interest of a single 


individual ; but it was not all mere selfishness ; it was 
the craving to live, and to go on living for ever, that 
piled these stones so high and so enduringly. The 
king's precautions, of course, were vain. The greatness 
of the tomb only served the better to attract the 
attention of the spoiler. Ages ago how long ago no 
one can tell robbers broke through all the solid blocks 
of stone that barred the passages, rifled the chambers 
of all their treasures, and scattered the dust of the 
world's greatest builder to the four winds of heaven. 
The Great Pyramid remains only a monument of the 
Vanity of Human Wishes. 

Even so there is no more interesting building on 
earth. Think what that impassive bulk has looked 
down upon. It was already venerable when Abraham 
may have rested in its shadow. Twelve hundred years 
at least Khufu had slept in his gloomy resting-place 
before the Father of the Faithful entered the land of 
the Nile. It witnessed the great Semite raid which 
placed the Shepherd Princes on the throne of Egypt, 
and prepared the way for Joseph. It watched that 
great statesman as he carried out his shrewd and stern 
land policy. Its towering bulk may conceivably have 
been the last memory of some of the fleeing Israelites 
as they looked back in the full April moonlight on the 
night of the Exodus. The eyes of the infant Jesus 
may have rested wonderingly on it as Joseph and Mary 
carried Him to the shelter of the friendly land of 
the Nile. It has seen the Cross supplant the Crook 
of Osiris, the Crescent supplant the Cross, Napoleon's 
eagles beating down the Crescent. And now it sees a 
Christian nation, utterly alien to the soil, governing a 
mixed Moslem and Christian people, all, Christian and 

188 EGYPT 

Moslem alike, the direct descendants of the men who 
reared Khufu's great tomb. Who can tell what other 
changes it may still witness, itself scarcely altered by 
all the ages that have passed ? There is no building 
which touches the imagination as does the Great 

It is, of course, not the only Pyramid ; there are 
many others, small and great. Two, at least, of its 
neighbours would themselves have been world's won- 
ders had they not been overshadowed by their gigantic 
companion. Below the second, the Pyramid of King 
Khafra, crouches the mysterious Sphinx, hewn from 
the solid rock by an unknown king, and looking with 
stony stare, as it has done for 5000 years, across the 
desert sands : another witness to man's search for 
God ; for it is the image of the sun-god as he rises day 
by day above the far Eastern horizon. 

Curiously enough, we can still see the lifelike repre- 
sentations of some of the men who wrought these 
earliest of the marvels of human power and skill. 
The same passion for immortality which made them 
rear these gigantic tombs made them endeavour to 
secure likenesses of themselves to which their spirits 
might return when their bodies had mouldered nway ; 
and so in the tomb of every man who could afford 
such a thing there were placed portrait-statues repre- 
senting him in his habit as he lived. The great statue 
of the king, Khafra by name, who built the Second 
Pyramid, is one of the marvels of ancient art. Hewn 
in diorite, a stone almost literally as hard as iron, it 
has kept for all these thousands of years the life- 
like lineaments of a man who was every inch a 



2. <;RKAT SPHINX, CI/KH (/. iSS) 


Others, of humbler rank, used humbler material. 
Some of the finest portraits of the time were executed 
in wood. In the Cairo Museum there stands the 
wooden statue of a man of the people, probably one 
of those same overseers of public works of whom the 
Israelites came to know so much in later days, when 
they laboured in the House of Bondage. Well fed, 
consequential, perhaps not unkindly, you can still see 
the man as he lived in the days when the Pyramids 
were being built, and can almost imagine him, staff in 
hand, directing his workmen. Or, in low relief and 
painted upon the wall of his own tomb, we have the 
figure of my Lord Ty, as he walked about his estate, 
supervising his slaves the very type of the men who 
lorded it over the Hebrews in after generations, and 
made their lives bitter to them with hard service. 

Meanwhile, these men were taking their part manfully 
in the opening up of the world around them. Away at 
Sinai, in the sun-scorched valleys of the great moun- 
tain-range where Israel later heard the Law of the 
Ten Words, they were digging turquoise and copper 
from the cliffs. Their fleets were going down the Red 
Sea to Somaliland to bring back incense for the 
temples of the gods. Their caravans were exploring 
the Sudan, from which, on more than one occasion, 
they brought back, along with the gold-dust and ivory 
that were the main objects of their search, some 
specimens of that curious tribe of dwarfs which Stanley 
re-discovered in his search for Emin Pasha. Indeed, 
the whole ancient world was waking and bestirring 
itself in preparation for the great events which lay ahead. 

And then darkness comes down upon the story of 
Egypt, and for several centuries we can only dimly 

I 9 o EGYPT 

trace the outline of times of strife and anarchy, till at 
last we come into contact with the great kings of the 
Twelfth Dynasty, in the reign of the last of whom 
Abraham is supposed to have paid his visit to Egypt. 
By that time the seat of government had shifted 
from Memphis to Thebes, far up the Nile Valley, 
though there was also a fortress-palace near the apex 
of the Delta. The religious capital, however, was still 
near the Delta, at Heliopolis, the city of the sun, as the 
Greeks called it. The Egyptians called it " Annu," and 
the Hebrews " On " the form in which we meet with 
it in Scripture. Here Senusert, one of the kings of the 
Twelfth Dynasty, had just reared a magnificent temple 
to the Sun god, and there still stands among the green 
fields of Matariyeh one taper shaft of red granite, the 
sole surviving relic of the noble building on which the 
Patriarch may have looked when it was in its first 
splendour. Later, we know that Joseph, the powerful 
Viceroy of Egypt, came here in the crowning hour of 
his life, and it was from under the shadow of this 
obelisk that he led away his Egyptian wife, " Asenath, 
the daughter of Poti-pherah, priest of On." 

The Bible gives a not unfavourable picture of that 
king of Egypt with whom Abraham had to deal. His 
kindly treatment of the patriarch, and his dignified 
rebuke of the cheat which his visitor had put upon 
him, make him no unworthy figure in comparison with 
the Father of the Faithful. And if he be, as seems 
likely, Amenemhat III, the last great king of this 
dynasty, then the Egyptian records tally well with the 
character which Scripture suggests. For this was one 
of the great beneficent rulers of the ancient world 
no war-lord, though like all these ancient kings he did 


some fighting in his day, and did it well, but a man 
who realized that a king's first duty is the welfare of 
his subjects, and who, by wonderful works of 
irrigation did his utmost to improve the condition 
of his land. The scanty remains of the great dykes 
and sluices by which he regulated the inundation and 
reclaimed land from the desert and the swamps still 
bear witness to his foresight and goodness of heart. 

Shortly after his death there fell upon the land a 
great disaster which proved the providence that was to 
link on the fate of Egypt to that of the Chosen People. 
It was a time of wandering and strife among the nations. 
Everywhere tribes were on the move, either dis- 
contented with their own inheritance and seeking out 
more fertile lands, or else driven onwards by the 
pressure of ruder and more vigorous tribes from the 
wilder regions of the world. Egypt was undergoing 
what seems often to follow upon a period of great 
prosperity, the feeble rule of a set of incapable kings. 
A great horde of wandering Semites from the desert 
swooped down upon her frontiers, conquered her dis- 
organized armies with ease, aided, no doubt, by the 
terror of the war-chariot now first brought to the 
knowledge of the Egyptians, captured her cities, and 
brought the whole country into subjection. Hyksos, 
the Egyptians called them, "Desert Princes," or 
" Shepherd Princes " as you like, the terms were 
virtually interchangeable. For several generations they 
ruled over the land, keeping the natives down by force 
of arms, and correspondingly hated by their subjects. 

Now so far as can be judged, it was in the reign of 
one of these Desert or Shepherd kings, very probably 
the king known as Apepa II., that Joseph was sold into 

192 EGYPT 

Egypt as a slave, became Viceroy, and brought down 
his brethren to Goshen. And this fact casts light upon 
some of the features of the Scripture narrative. 
" Shepherds," we are told, "were an abomination 
unto the Egyptians/' Well, the Egyptian, an agricul- 
turist to the backbone, never had much regard for the 
pastoral life at any time ; but just now to his contempt 
of it was added hatred, because he was being tyrannized 
over by a nomadic and pastoral race. Joseph's 
brethren were well received by the king and the 
governing class, not only on account of their kinship 
to the great Viceroy, but because they were members 
of that same Semitic race to which the rulers belonged, 
and their advent meant an addition of strength to the 
governing caste. But, though welcomed, they were 
placed in Goshen, near to the desert frontier, that 
they might be separate from the native race, and out 
of the way of their jealousy. All the circumstances fit 
in wonderfully well, and the fact that among the names 
of the Hyksos rulers is found a title such as Jacob-el, 
shows how close was the connexion between the 
Shepherd Kings and the Hebrew race which they 

It was not for long, however, that the Shepherd 
Kings were able to protect their kinsmen. The reign 
of Joseph's Pharaoh, if Apepa II. be the man, closed 
amid scenes of war. The native Egyptians, led by a 
Theban Prince, rose in rebellion against their oppres- 
sors ; a long War of Independence followed, and at 
last the Hyksos were completely overthrown and 
driven out : " Another king arose which knew not 
Joseph," and henceforward the Hebrews would be 
objects of jealousy and suspicion, the ready victims of 



the first king with a turn for tyranny who should 

But the overthrow of the Shepherds, though it fore- 
shadowed disaster for the Hebrews, meant new life to 
Egypt. The Theban Princes, of the line of Aahmes, 
who now took up the reins, were among the very 
greatest who ever governed the land, and the duration 
of the Eighteenth Dynasty marks the period of Egypt's 
greatest power and glory. It is, of course, impossible 
to do more than outline the course of events which 
brought Egypt out upon the stage of the ancient East, 
for the first, and really for the only time in her exist- 
ence, as a great military and conquering power. 

Tahutmes I., better known as Thothmes I., led his 
victorious army up through Palestine and Galilee, and 
right on to the banks of the Euphrates. His daughter 
Queen Hatshepsut, one of the greatest women of 
history, ruled Egypt, peacefully, as became a woman, 
but strenuously for twenty years, sending her fleets far 
south on voyages of exploration, and building to the 
gods beautiful temples, such as that which Naville has 
rescued from the desert sand beneath the towering 
cliffs of Der-el-Bahri at Thebes. One of her obelisks, 
the tallest now surviving of all such monuments, still 
stands before the great temple of Karnak to bear 
witness to her piety and her power. Her own story 
of how it came to be reared shows us how God did not 
leave himself without a witness even in these far-off 
days. " 1 was sitting in my palace," she says, " I was 
thinking of my Creator, when my heart urged me to 
make for him two obelisks whose points reach unto the 
sky." So she sent her architect up the Nile to the 
granite quarries of Aswan, and in seven months the two 

i 9 4 EGYPT 

great shafts, almost 100 feet in height and 300 tons 
in weight, were standing before the temple at Thebes 
polished and carved from peak to base with exquisite 
hieroglyphics. " I have done this/' she says, " from a 
heart full of love for my Divine Father." "That they 
should seek after God, if haply they may feel after 
Him and find Him, though He be not far from any 
one of us." 

After the great queen's peaceful reign came war 
once more, and Tahutmes III., the greatest soldier, 
the only great soldier of the Egyptian race, began his 
long career of conquest with a victory over the Syrian 
League at Megiddo in the Plain of Esdraelon. In 
seventeen successive campaigns, all carried out within 
the first nineteen years of his reign, he swept Palestine, 
Syria, and the upper Euphrates district clear of 
enemies, crushing down all opposition until he had 
made Egypt supreme from the fourth Cataract of the 
Nile to Carchemish, and even the rising Assyrian State 
was glad to offer gifts to the conqueror whose shadow 
lay across the whole Eastern world. At home, his 
temples arose all along the banks of the Nile in 
honour of the gods who had given him victory ; and 
he handed on to his successors the first and one of 
the most glorious of world-empires. 

It was left for them, and especially for Amenhotep 
III., the Solomon of Egypt, as Tahutmes had been its 
David, to prepare, by their luxury and magnificence, 
the way for that downfall of the far-stretching Egyptian 
Empire which heralded the active oppression of the 
Israelites, and in the end made possible the Hebrew 
conquest of Canaan. 


IT seems not improbable that, during the reigns of the 
great conquering Pharaohs, who had so greatly 
extended the Egyptian Empire, the situation of the 
Israelites in Egypt may have been by no means alto- 
gether unfavourable. Of course the days when they 
were the friends and favourites of the ruling caste 
were gone, and, instead of being at the top of the tree, 
they were now at the bottom. The Egyptians had no 
very high opinion of any other people but themselves, 
and they were never slow to let their contempt for 
foreigners be seen and heard. No doubt the Hebrews 
were classed, along with their friends the Hyksos, as 
"vile Asiatics/' and bidden be thankful that their lives 
were spared and that they were not driven out into the 
desert, as the Hyksos had been. No doubt they were 
obliged once and again, as the native Egyptians also 
were, to give their services in forced labour for the 
building of one or another of the great temples of 
Tahutmes or Amenhotep. But there is no need to 
assume that on the whole they were badly treated 
during this period. 

Their settlements were mainly in Goshen, near to 
the eastern frontier and the desert, the restrictions 
which came later, after times of disaster, did not as 
yet exist, and if they had been seriously ill-treated, 
migration would not have been difficult. As a matter 


196 EGYPT 

of fact, Semitism was rather in favour during the 
conquering days of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The 
great soldier, Tahutmes III., inaugurated a policy which 
made the Semites in Egypt much more numerous than 
before ; for after every campaign he brought down 
with him large drafts of the conquered Semitic peoples 
of Syria and Palestine. His successors were yet more 
pro-Semitic than himself. Some of them were married 
to Asiatic princesses. One of them, Amenhotep III., 
announces on the scarab which intimates his marriage 
to a Mitannian princess, Gilukhipa, that she brought 
down no fewer than 317 maids of honour with her a 
very considerable leaven for the Egyptian Court ; and 
all through this king's reign Semitic influence was 
strongly at work, socially and religiously. So that up 
to this point the Hebrews, in all likelihood, had but 
little to complain of, and were, at all events, no worse 
off than their neighbours the native Egyptians. 

But then came a change. Curiously enough, it 
came by the way of an excess of favour being shown 
to Semitic ideas such as the Hebrews stood for. 
There arose in Egypt a king of whom we shall hear 
more later on, one of those men who seem to have 
been born out of due time, and to have ideas centuries 
in advance of their period. He made a great effort to 
revolutionize the religion of Egypt ; and the form 
which he strove to give to it was a Semitic form. It 
was the purest and most spiritual type of religion that 
the world had yet known, or was to know until the 
great seers of the Hebrew race taught the spirituality 
and the universality of Jehovah. But it came too soon, 
and men were not ready for it. The strife it awakened 
was disastrous to the Egyptian power both at home 


I'll, I. ARM) HAI.L, KAKNAK ( /. 2OO) 


and abroad. At home the struggle ended in a change 
of dynasty ; abroad the whole Egyptian empire 
crumbled into fragments during the strife. And when 
the new line of Pharaohs had got firmly settled upon 
the throne, and had begun to gather together again 
the wrecks of the empire, we can scarcely doubt that 
the Hebrews in Egypt felt the revulsion from the 
policy which had, perhaps unduly, favoured them and 
their kinsfolk of the other Syrian races. 

It was probably with the Nineteenth Dynasty, and 
with the reigns of Sety I. and Ramses II. that the real 
oppression of the Israelites began. So far as one can 
judge, it seems likely that with these men, and with 
their successor Merenptah, we get into actual touch 
with people who form part of that great epic of a 
nation's birth which is presented to us in the Book 
of Exodus. We must attempt, therefore, to realize 
something of the Egypt in whose affairs they played 
their part, and the scenes amidst which Moses grew 
up and was trained, and from which he led forth his 
kinsmen to make a nation of them in the wilderness.* 

It was an Egypt which had passed the floodtide of 
its fortunes, and for which the ebb was beginning with 
ominous rapidity. At the beginning of the period, the 
Pharaoh could not claim one foot of land in Syria of 
all the great empire that Tahutmes 1 1 1. had won. That 
was a degradation to which bold and ambitious men 
like Sety and Ramses could scarcely be expected to 
submit. Probably they would have done better in the 

* In this chapter the traditional view has been adhered tothat 
the Exodus took place in the reign of Merenptah of the Nineteenth 
Dynasty. For the different theories on this subject see Appendix 
" The Date of the Exodus." 

198 EGYPT 

end for their country had they given their strength to 
the building up of her power from within, consolidating 
her still vast resources before they endeavoured to 
make her a great world-power again. But it would 
have been almost too much to expect such patient 
foresight in an age when greatness was mainly 
measured by conquest and magnificence ; and so the 
first task to which the masters of the Israelites com- 
mitted themselves was an attempt to regain dominion 
over Palestine and Syria, and the next was an attempt 
to make Egypt appear more magnificent at home than 
she had ever been. 

The double effort was more than the country could 
bear, and after the splendour of the two reigns of Sety 
and Ramses, and a manful attempt on the part of 
Merenptah to guard and maintain their achievements, 
Egypt collapsed, overtaxed and worn-out, never again, 
save spasmodically and for brief periods, to take any- 
thing like her former position. But during these two 
reigns there was at least a great show of warlike power 
abroad, and a still greater show of magnificence at 
home. Probably there never was a period of Egyptian 
history when to a superficial observer there was more 
glitter and glamour, more luxury and splendour. A 
stranger, viewing the land of the Pharaohs at the time 
when the Israelites were groaning under the burden of 
their hard service in brick and mortar, would very 
probably have imagined that he was looking on a 
country which had reached the very zenith of its 
greatness both at home and abroad. 

He would have seen great armies returning from 
foreign wars, laden with plunder and cumbered with 
captives, greeted by the acclamations of one of the 


most gorgeous Courts that the world has ever known. 
He would have seen in every great town of the land 
huge temples rising, such as had never been built 
before, and were never to be built again. Nor could 
he be expected to know that the conquests so loudly 
celebrated were utterly hollow, and that the moment 
the Egyptian standards had disappeared below the 
horizon the vanquished lands resumed their indepen- 
dence, or that the rearing and endowing of these vast 
temples was bleeding the country to the point of utter 
exhaustion. In fact the land of Egypt at this time 
presents a very close parallel with the France of 
Louis XIV., where a great display of warlike strength 
and an amazing luxury and self-indulgence covered the 
misery and exhaustion which prepared the way for the 

It was Sety I., grandfather of the Pharaoh of the 
Exodus, who began the process which ended so disas- 
trously for Egypt. He led his conquering armies up 
the old warpath of the Maritime Plain of Palestine to 
the very roots of the Lebanons, easily beating aside the 
Amorites and Arabs who opposed his march, and 
claiming in his great inscriptions to have beaten even 
the army of the great Hittite confederation. At home 
he reared, or at least he began to rear for his reign did 
not last long enough for their completion some of the 
most marvellous buildings that the world has ever seen. 
The most beautiful of these was his temple at the holy 
city of Abydos, adorned with bas-reliefs which are 
among the most exquisite relics of Egyptian art. The 
greatest was the vast addition which he made to the 
already gigantic temple of Amen at Karnak, in the city 
of Thebes. And here we have a building which may 

200 EGYPT 

conceivably have been one of those on which the lives 
of the Hebrews were made bitter to them with hard 
service. All the great buildings of those days were 
reared by forced labour, and nothing is more likely 
than that for this one, which was big enough to tax the 
whole nation, the labour of the despised Hebrews 
would be called in, even though the site was remote 
from their normal settlements. 

Sety did not live to finish his pillared hall ; it was 
completed by his son, Ramses II. It is the most 
gigantic single chamber ever reared by human hands. 
Its area is considerably greater than that of the great 
cathedral of Cologne, and this, be it remembered, is 
only a single hall of the great temple. Its most im- 
pressive feature is the nave, with its twelve enormous 
pillars. Each pillar soars up 70 feet into the air. On 
the huge capital, shaped like an opened lotus-flower, 
100 men could safely stand; and the architraves, 
which span the space from pillar to pillar, and once 
carried the flat roof, weigh 100 tons apiece. The toil, 
the agony, the waste of human life involved in the 
rearing of such a building by the slow and cumbrous 
methods of those ancient days are almost unimaginable ; 
but the very attempt to realize them may help us to 
understand something of what the servitude of the 
House of Bondage may have meant for the Children of 

And this was only one of many huge buildings which 
were rising all over the land, for Ramses II. was pos- 
sessed by a perfect mania for big and pretentious 
buildings. He was a warrior-king, a hard fighter, 
though not a very skilful general, and every return 
from a more or less successful campaign became an 


excuse for the rearing of some fresh temple on which 
toe vainglorious record of his warlike exploits might be 
sculptured. Away at Tanis, the Biblical Zoan, on the 
sdge of the Land of Goshen, he built a vast temple, 
whose ruins Flinders Petrie has excavated of recent 
years. In front of its gate there stood a colossal statue 
of the Great Oppressor himself, now lying in innumer- 
able fragments. Hewn out of one single stone the 
huge standing figure towered up over 90 feet into the 
air, and on its pedestal, perhaps another 30 feet high, 
must have simply dominated the whole town that 
crouched at its feet. The weight of that single block 
was something like 1000 tons. 

How was such a mass moved ? It was moved, not 
as some suppose, by some wonderful machinery of 
which the secret has been lost, but simply by human 
hands ; and how much sweat and tears and blood the 
moving cost, no man can tell. Hebrews, no doubt, 
strained and groaned and died around the vast merci- 
less block of granite, from which the features of their 
Oppressor looked down, cold and impassive, upon 
their agonies. And you must multiply all that suffer- 
ing an hundredfold if you would understand anything 
of what Ramses' insane ambition and pride cost his 
subject peoples. 

At Thebes, besides finishing his father's work at 
Karnak, he built a great funerary temple for himself. 
Its ruins still survive, most impressive of all the 
colonnade with the gigantic figures of Osiris forming 
the pillars. Before the temple lie enormous masses 
of granite, the fragments of another colossal statue of 
himself. It was not so tall as the one at Tanis, only 
some 57 feet or so in height, for it was a seated figure; 

202 EGYPT 

but the throne and the great figure upon it, all one 
block of hard red granite from the first Cataract, 
weighed as much, in all probability, as the taller figure 
at Tan is. 

Away far up the Nile, in Nubia, Ramses left a still 
more amazing relic of his pride and power. This 
time no building was to suffice him. He chose a great 
promontory of sandstone that jutted out into the Nile, 
and this he hollowed out, with infinite labour, into a 
temple. Within, the great chambers run far back into 
the living rock, their roofs supported by huge columns 
in the figure of Osiris. Without, the cliff front is 
shaped like the gate of an ordinary Egyptian temple, 
and before it, hewn from the same mass of rock, sit 
four statues of the king, 65 feet in height each of 
them. Josephus, not perhaps the most trustworthy of 
authorities, asserts that Moses was in command of the 
Egyptian troops upon the Nubian expedition of 
Ramses. If it be so, then he may have presided at 
the commencement of this strange temple in the days 
before he realized that his destiny lay, not in Pharaoh's 
Court, but with his oppressed fellow countrymen. The 
authority of Josephus, however, is perhaps scarcely 
warrant enough for such an imagination, however 
inviting it may be. 

The Book of Exodus states that among other works 
which the Israelites were forced to build for the 
Oppressor were two " treasure-cities/' Pithom and 
Raamses. The Revised Version reads " store-cities." 
In other words, these two towns were the great bases 
for the Egyptian king's Syrian campaigns. Here the 
grain required for his armies on their march across 
the desert was stored up in huge granaries. Now, the 


identifying of these towns, particularly that of Pithom, 
has been one of the remarkable results of modern 
research. Raamses has been identified, with great 
probability, with the town of Tanis, lately mentioned. 
Pithom was discovered a few years ago by Naville, at 
Tell-el-Maskhutah, near the frontier of Goshen. There 
under the mud and dust which had drifted over every- 
thing into great mounds, he found, first of all, a great 
enclosing wall, 24 feet in thickness, built of fine lime- 
stone, next a temple, and finally a remarkable series 
of underground chambers lined with brick. 

The temple provided the means of identifying the 
town, for inscriptions in it showed that it had been 
dedicated to the god Turn or Atum, the god of the 
setting sun, so that the town was Pa-Turn, the House 
of the God Turn, or in the Hebrew form of the words, 
Pithom. Next it was found that of all the inscriptions 
discovered on the spot there was none bearing the 
name of any king of earlier date than Ramses II., so that 
the original building of the town was manifestly due 
to him. Then there came to light an inscription on a 
statue in the temple, set up by one Pames-Isis, who 
describes himself as an official of Turn of Sukut, and 
governor of the storehouses. 

The brick-lined cellars declared themselves as mani- 
festly destined for the storage of grain on a large scale, 
and while we need not lay much stress on the presence 
of straw and chopped reeds in the lower courses, and 
the absence of the binding material in the upper layers 
of the brickwork, still there can be little doubt that in 
these underground cellars of Pithom we have some of 
the very buildings on which the Hebrews of the time of 
Moses laboured. Farther, Pithom provided another 

204 EGYPT 

point of identification. The governor of the store- 
houses described himself as an official of Turn of Sukut. 
The civil name, therefore, of the town whose divine 
name was Pa-Turn, was Sukut, which in the Hebrew 
form became Succoth ; and the Exodus started from 
this store-city which the Israelites had been building. 

The reign of the great Oppressor was a long one. 
His great wars were all over by the end of his first 
twenty years : and then for more than forty years longer 
he reigned in magnificence, indulging to the full his 
building mania. So that if we may imagine Moses to 
have come to the realization of his true vocation at the 
time when his people began to feel the pinch of the 
forced labour, his forty years in Midian, waiting for the 
death of the king whose anger he had provoked, would 
just bring him to the close of the long reign of Ramses. 
One other point of interest arises in connexion with 
the royal family of the day. Who was the kindly 
Egyptian princess who took pity on the Hebrew babe 
and brought up Moses in her household ? Ramses 
had an enormous family, at least fifty sons and seventy 
daughters are known to us, so that identification would 
seem to be pretty hopeless. But we know that the 
king's favourite daughter, married to her father, accord- 
ing to the strange Egyptian custom, was named Bint- 
Anat, which means " Daughter of Anath." Now Anath 
is a Syrian goddess ; and so here in the very family of 
Pharaoh we have a princess whose name indicates 
devotion to the worship of a goddess of the same race 
from which the Hebrews sprang. It is tempting to 
suppose that Bint-Anat was the patroness of the young 
Hebrew who was to grow up to defy her father and to 
humble her brother's pride. 



(//. 201 C^ 202) 



One of the strangest and most romantic results of 
modern exploration has been the discovery of the royal 
mummies of this and the preceding dynasty a dis- 
covery which enables us to look upon the actual 
features of the men with whom, in all probability, 
Moses and his Israelites had to deal. During the 
eighties of last century, the authorities at Cairo began 
to realize that genuine relics of some of the most in- 
teresting of Egyptian Pharaohs were coming on the 
mirket in a way which indicated that some important 
discovery had been made, and was being kept secret, 
Suspicion fell on two Arabs who were known to deal 
in antiquities and to be not over-scrupulous. Authority 
in Egypt can do things and use means at which we 
would hold up our hands, and by somewhat rude 
means of justice the truth was extracted from one 
member of the firm. He guided the officials of the 
Cairo Museum to the mouth of a dark pit in a most 
desolate spot beneath the cliffs of Der-el-Bahri. The 
adventurers swung down by a rope, and wandered 
along a dark and noisome passage to a square chamber 
hewn in the rock. And there, ranged in rows, or piled 
one upon another, lay more than twenty royal 
mummies of all the greatest periods of Egyptian 

Seqenen-Ra, the hero of the Egyptian War of Inde- 
pendence, was there, with three ghastly wounds on 
head and face to show how he had died. Tahutmes III., 
the great conqueror, was there ; proving to have been 
a small and somewhat insignificant figure, like 
Napoleon and many other great soldiers. Perhaps 
most interesting of all, from the Biblical student's 
point of view, there were Sety I., the father of the 

206 EGYPT 

Oppressor, and Ramses the Oppressor himself. 
Sety, one of the noblest and most distinguished of 
Egyptian kings, proved to be a fine old figure, with 
aristocrat written upon every line of his proud and 
finely-cut features. Ramses himself, tall, powerful 
and gaunt, bore the marks of extreme old age (he 
must have been well up in the eighties or even the 
nineties when he died) ; yet with his great stature 
and his big bones he was just the man whom we can 
imagine, as his inscriptions picture him, leading the 
desperate charge against the Hittites at the battle of 
Kadesh. One may read in his features pride, obstinacy, 
force, but perhaps no very great amount of intellectual 

One figure of interest was wanting that of 
Merenptah, son and successor of Ramses the man 
who ought to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Hasty 
and careless readers of the Bible accounted for his 
absence by saying that of course he was drowned in 
the Red Sea. The Exodus narrative makes no such 
statement. It says that Pharaoh's chariots and horse- 
men went into the sea and were overthrown ; but it 
does not say that Pharaoh went; and it is in the 
highest degree improbable that Merenptah, who was a 
man of at least sixty-five when he came to the throne, 
and who did not lead his troops in person even at the 
decisive battle of Prosopis, would venture himself on 
any such hare-brained enterprise. Anyhow, Merenptah 
himself turned up a few years agu in the tomb of 
Amenhotep II., and his mummy is now lying at Cairo 
with that of his father and grandfather a man of 
much the same type as Ramses, proud and stubborn- 
looking, with high aquiline nose and determined jaw. 


Surely the romance of exploration can touch no 
higher point than this, and there are few things 
stranger than the thought of those poor withered 
figures in the Cairo Museum, who belong to a past so 
far removed from us, who witnessed the actual 
beginnings of events that were to alter, in a way they 
never dreamed of, the whole course of world-history, 
who looked in anger upon the face of the Man of 
Destiny, and now look out upon a world which the 
influence of their despised opponent has largely 
shaped to something so different from that old world 
which they knew. In a great passage already alluded 
to (Isaiah x, 5-19), Isaiah describes the King of Assyria 
as being merely the axe and saw in the hand of 
Jehovah, hewing and cutting according to the divine 
plan, and warns him against the pride that should 
make the axe boast itself against the hand that wields 
it. Never, surely, could the simile be more fittingly 
applied than to these men, who did their own work, 
and sought their own ends, and were yet all the time 
serving the purposes of the God of a people whom 
they despised. 

When Ramses II. went to his rock-hewn grave in 
the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, full of years and 
honours, he left behind him a land which, to all 
outward seeming, never was stronger or more im- 
posing. Scarcely a town of importance in the country 
but bore the marks of his hand, and if great public 
works signify prosperity, then the Egypt of the Exodus 
was prosperous exceedingly. Actually the land was 
exhausted, and its power was fast decaying. Enemies 
were gathering thick on both frontiers, well aware that 
the Colossus was tottering, and though Ramses' sue- 

208 EGYPT 

cessor, Merenptah, was able to hold them back during 
his reign, and there was still to be one more great 
soldier Pharaoh, Ramses III., the man who beat back 
the Philistines and their allies from the Egyptian 
frontier, yet the great days of Egypt's Empire were 
done. The future lay materially with Assyria and 
Babylonia, not with the Land of the Nile. Spiritually 
it lay with the tiny nation which went forth from 
Egypt to find the Promised Land. 

Whether the Exodus contributed much to the decay 
of Egyptian power or not we can scarcely tell. Prob- 
ably it did not, for it is now becoming plain that our 
reading of the numbers involved in the Exodus has 
been wrong, and that the Israelites who went out of 
Egypt were only a small fraction of what we once 
believed to have gone. Professor Flinders Petrie has 
pointed out that the word which our Authorised 
Version translates "thousand 1 ' is also good Hebrew 
for " tent " or " family/' a recognized mode of 
reckoning. So that when we read that the Israelites 
went out 600,000 men, besides women and children, 
we should probably read 600 tents, men, women and 
children. Instead of the vast multitude, which has 
always been a difficulty, we need not suppose that 
many more than 6000 people were involved a big 
enough migration, even at that, but a perfectly possible 
one, and one not likely to have affected Egypt to any 
very great extent one way or the other. 

Very fortunately for us, no period of Egyptian 
history has left so many relics, literary and historical, as 
the period of the Nineteenth Dynasty, so that probably 
it is not too much to say that we know the life of the 
ancient Egypt of the Exodus quite as well as we know 


.TATUK OF R. \.V1SKS II (p. 204) 
In the Turin Musmni 


that of the England or France of the Middle Ages. 
Of course a great deal of the intimate detail is for ever 
lost ; but the main outlines of the social system can be 
reconstructed with tolerable certainty. At the top of 
the ladder an infinitely gorgeous Court, organized with 
a minuteness of detail comparable only with that of 
Versailles before the Revolution ; the head of every- 
thing a King whose natural inheritance it was to be 
looked upon as a god, who regarded himself as divine, 
and was adored by all his people as god manifest in the 
flesh. No man, no matter how great, came into the 
presence of Ramses II. without performing an act of 
adoration. The palace of this august being might 
seem to us rather paltry, for while the Egyptian built 
temples and tombs for eternity, he preferred to build 
his house simply to last his own day, believing, and 
perhaps rightly, that the man who came after him 
might prefer to consult his own taste. So the palace 
was constructed of light materials instead of the huge 
stone blocks of temple or pyramid, and was gay and 
tasteful rather than imposing. You imagine a large 
low building covering a great area, and surrounded by 
extensive pleasure-grounds. All white without, but 
within glowing with soft and beautiful colours. In the 
front of the building, a range of great pillared reception- 
halls ; behind, the living apartments of the royal family, 
a special quarter of the great rambling building being 
reserved for the ladies of the harem whence, as always 
in Eastern Courts, came quarrels, plots and revolutions. 
On great reception days, the Pharaoh, Ramses or 
Merenptah, taking his seat on the throne beneath a 
canopy of gilded and painted wood, would be accom- 
pani ed by his favourite wife and some of the princes 

2io EGYPT 

and princesses of the blood. Before the dai's is 
gathered a glittering assemblage of priests in their 
panther-skin robes, high officials with their golden 
collars of office, and soldiers in corselet and helmet ; 
and in the midst one fancies Moses and Aaron, simple 
and austere, from the deserts of Midian and the forced 
labour of Pithom objects of wonder and perhaps of 

The note of magic struck in the Exodus narrative 
is especially true to the time. The Egyptians had 
always a craze for magic and for tales of the magi- 
cians, and no period has so many of these tales told 
about it as the period of Ramses. We know that the 
Oppressor's favourite son Khaemuas, who died without 
coming to the throne, was reckoned the wisest of 
Egyptian magicians, and was fabled to have found his 
magic scroll, as William of Deloraine found Michael 
Scotfs book, in the tomb of a wizard prince of by- 
gone days. So that if Moses and his brother gave a 
sign, there would be no lack of magicians in the 
Egyptian Court to take up the challenge and maintain 
the credit of Egyptian art magic against the in- 

Of the lot of the middle and lower classes at this 
time we know less in detail, but enough to let us 
realize that the splendour of the Court was no index to 
the prosperity of the nation. We know for instance 
that the poorer classes in the cities of ancient Egypt 
were huddled together under conditions yet more 
miserable than those which disgrace our civilization 
to-day. And we know that the old question of riches 
and poverty, capital and labour was as acute then as 
now. Somewhat later in the Ramesside period, we 


have the record of a strike of the masons in the 
Theban necropolis, not for a rise of wages, but for 
the very sufficient reason that they had received no 
wages at all, and not even the rations of corn and 
oil which were part of their pay. The tax-gatherer 
and his police with their harsh methods of extracting 
payment from the toiling fellah, were the basis of the 
luxury and splendour of the upper classes ; and they 
figure in many a picture of the time, their cruel tyranny 
helping us to realize all the more vividly the picture 
presented to us in Exodus of the misery of the 

Such then was the Egypt of the time when Moses 
led forth the Children of Israel a land of old renown, 
whose noon was now past, and whose glories were 
already beginning to wane. 


IN ancient Egypt, then, we have a great country and 
a great people brought into very close contact for a 
considerable period of time with the Hebrew race, just 
when such contact should have been most efficient in 
influencing the Hebrew mind and in shaping its habit 
of thought when the nation was in the making, and 
still plastic. One would naturally expect to find 
very considerable traces of Egyptian influence in all 
directions, upon the life of the race, upon its ideals of 
government and conduct most of all, perhaps, upon 
its religion. Therefore it is necessary to attempt to 
realize something of what the Egyptians believed 
about God, and how they worshipped Him, and to 
inquire as to what traces, if any, we can find of their 
influence upon the Hebrews in this respect. 

The task is no easy one, for, of all religions that 
have ever swayed men's minds, the Egyptian religion 
is probably about the most difficult to give a clear 
account of. Not that there is little material to go 
upon. The Egyptians were among the most devout 
of peoples, and their early possession of a system of 
writing has secured that their religious ideas did not 
depend upon the precarious method of oral trans- 
mission, but were set down, practically imperishably, 
from the earliest dates. Of no other race can it be 
said, as of this people, that its religious documents 



TkM'Ml'H STKI.K OF MKKKM'TAH ( //. 208 C^ 266) 

With earliest mention of Israrl 


still extant cover a period of at least 4000 years. The 
amount of material is simply enormous, but the very 
bulk of it is part of the trouble. " A strange curse/' 
says the greatest living Egyptologist, " lay upon the 
Egyptians ; they could not forget." Having learned 
to write centuries before any other race, all their 
religious ideas from the very beginning were re- 
corded ; and it never, from start to finish, seemed to 
enter any Egyptian's head that it might be desirable 
to compare the records, to note their inconsistencies 
and discrepancies, or to attempt to systematize the 

We have already seen how the influence of the 
long, straggling land opposed a powerful obstacle to 
political unity. The same influence hindered mental 
and spiritual unity. The Egyptian mind, like the 
Egyptian land, was straggling ; it had no genius for 
compacting and systematizing. Imagine nearly one 
thousand miles of river bank, densely peopled length 
without breadth and this narrow ribbon of population 
divided up into scores of communities, each living its 
own life, and comparatively isolated even from its im- 
mediate neighbours totally so from those who were 
farther away. Naturally, each community started its 
own local god ; and none troubled much about the 
god of its neighbour. Some townships remained 
petty and obscure, and so their gods never became of 
much account ; others, like Thebes, Memphis, Helio- 
polis, became very important, and the fortunes of their 
god rose along with those of his city. So by and by 
you had a tribe of great gods one, with his subor- 
dinates, for each great city and a myriad of small 
gods, one for each little township. 

2i 4 EGYPT 

Meanwhile each place had evolved its own cycle of 
legends for its local god; and it may be imagined 
what the result was likely to be when all these were 
written down and collected. Take, for instance, the 
idea of Creation. Egypt has no single Creation story, 
such as we find in the Bible, or, less perfectly, in the 
Babylonian religion ; she has any number of Creation 
stories. At one town the world was made by the local 
divinity in one way ; at another, by a totally different 
god and in a totally different fashion. At Memphis, 
Ptah was the artificer ; but at Aswan the world was 
made by Khnum on a potter's wheel ; and at Sais it 
was woven by the goddess Neit, as a woman weaves 
cloth on a loom. 

It was the same in all other aspects of religion. Even 
with regard to immortal life, where we have the one 
approach to a universal religious idea to which the 
Egyptians ever attained, there was the same confusion. 
The Egyptians all believed most firmly in the life ever- 
lasting and in heaven, but they had at least half a dozen 
different ideas as to how you were to get to heaven, 
and what you were to do when there ; and this, not as 
in our case, because the subject has been left indefinite 
and obscure, and fancy finds no limit. On the contrary, 
Egyptian ideas of these things were as definite and 
clear-cut as possible ; only each one was absolutely 
inconsistent with the next. If the one was true, the 
other could not be ; yet apparently they were all 
accepted, and no one saw the absurdity. 

In all likelihood, however, all this looks a great deal 
worse to us now than it actually proved to be in practice. 
It is difficult for us to understand how the inhabitant 
of a land whose gods are literally to be counted by the 


hundred could have any religion at all. Probably the 
devout Egyptian did not worry about 999 out of the 
thousand. He chose one, his own particular deity ; 
and, roughly speaking, this is what he believed about 
him : His god was eternally self-existent ; he was the 
creator and preserver of all things, merciful and gentle, 
specially careful of the most helpless of his children, 
invisible and unsearchable, omnipresent and omni- 
scient, one alone, sending good or evil to his servants 
in a lordly, far-off way, and able to be inclined towards 
them by due observance of the stated rites and offer- 
ings, which therefore it was advisable to give him. It 
did not trouble our ardent believer at Thebes, who held 
all these things about Amen, to know that his neighbour 
at Memphis was singing exactly the same things in his 
hymns to Ptah. In other words, the particular god in 
question was only the outward expression, differing in 
different places, of an idea of God which was much the 
same all over the land, and which does not differ 
greatly from the Hebrew's idea of Jehovah. 

The same is true about the animal worship which to 
many is the one outstanding feature of the Egyptian 
religion an idea just about as true as most popular 
ideas. The Egyptians, in theory at least, never wor- 
shipped either bulls or cats or crocodiles. The craze 
for sacred animals as types of divinity only came in late 
in the national history, and has no prominent place in 
the great periods ; but even when this passion, so mis- 
understood and mocked by outsiders, had begun its 
sway, it was not the animal which was worshipped. 
Take, for instance, the Apis bull at Memphis. It looks 
as though this animal were treated with a reverence 
due only to God. He was kept in a palace, served and 

216 EGYPT 

fed by a retinue of obsequious priests, and when he 
died he was buried in a huge granite sarcophagus, 
more magnificent than that of any Pharaoh. Why ? 
Not as a bull, but as an emblem of God. He was the 
symbol of the strength of the Creator-God who was 
worshipped at Memphis, and as such he was adored. 
That was the theory. Practically it may be supposed 
that the uneducated vulgar came to a different con- 
clusion. They worshipped what they saw, and did 
not trouble to think of the god behind the symbol. 
Only in justice to the Egyptian religion it must be re- 
membered that in idea the Egyptian did not worship 
an ox, but the omnipotent Creator of whom the ox was 
the type. 

Curiously enough, it was this feature of Egyptian 
worship that the Hebrews took with them out of 
Egypt* and clung to all through their national history ; 
and the use they made of it shows the danger of all 
such material symbols, and how almost inevitably they 
degenerate into sheer idolatry. The golden calf of 
Horeb, and the calves of Dan and Bethel are the lineal 
descendants of the Apis bull of Memphis, and the 
results of their worship were no doubt practically the 
same in both countries. " They made a calf in Horeb, 
and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed 
their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth 
grass." The putting of a material type between the 
worshipper 'and his God is generally only the first step 
to the making of a god out of the type. " These be thy 
gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land 
of Egypt," said the people when they saw the golden 

And now let us try to form some idea of what the 


worship of an Egyptian god was like, and what were 
the temples and services on which the Hebrews looked, 
during their sojourn in Egypt, and of which they 
carried away with them the memory when they went 
forth. We may suppose ourselves coming up to the 
temple of one of the great gods of Egypt : the approach 
is by a long avenue, bordered on either side by a row 
of great crouching sphinxes, ram- or jackal-headed, 
and lion-bodied. At the end of the avenue rises the 
great pylon, or gateway, of the temple. It consists 
of two massive towers rising over one hundred feet into 
the air, with the gate between them. In front of the 
towers are two tall obelisks of red granite, and, behind 
these, two colossal granite statues of the reigning king 
sit with hands on knees, as if guarding the gate. 
Against each tower there are fastened two tall flag- 
staves, whose points rise high above the gate and bear 
gaily-coloured pennons. The heavy cedar doors which 
close the gateway are overlaid with beaten bronze, or 
perhaps with silver. 

Passing through these, you find yourself in the outer 
court of the temple, the peristyle court, so-called 
because of the row of pillars which runs round it. It 
is open to the sky, and around its sides behind the 
pillars runs a kind of cloister. In the centre stands a 
tall pillar of granite, inlaid with malachite and lapis 
lazuli, and crusted with precious stones. It bears a 
long inscription telling of the glory and piety of the 
king who has erected or beautified the temple. 

At the farther end of this hall you pass through a 
second gateway into another hall. Entering it you find 
yourself in the midst of a perfect forest of gigantic pillars 
sculptured all over with brilliantly painted figures of the 

218 EGYPT 

king adoring the gods. This hall is entirely roofed 
over, and has no windows, the only light in it being 
the few dim rays that come through stone lattices in the 
clerestory above the pillars. Here on great festival 
days a processional service is held, and a long line of 
priests winds in and out among the pillars carrying 
the image of the god in a little portable shrine. Beyond 
this second hall we enter a small chamber which is in 
total darkness. This is the Holy of Holies, the most 
sacred spot in the temple. The only light which ever 
penetrates its gloom is that which comes from the 
lamp carried by the officiating priest. 

At one end of this chamber stands the shrine of the 
god, hewn generally out of a single block of granite or 
quartzite, often of enormous size. It is closed by 
bronze or silver doors, and when the clay seal has been 
broken and the doors are opened, you see at last the 
image of the divine being for whom all these splendours 
exist a little wooden doll, perhaps two or three feet in 
height, gaudily painted with tints of red, green, black 
and white, and dressed, like other dolls, in detachable 
linen robes. The priest proceeds to paint the god's 
face afresh and to renew his toilet for the day, carefully 
preserving the cast-off clothes that they may be wrapped 
round the mummies of generous benefactors of the 
temple, thus securing their well-being in the after 
world. Then he sets food, wine, water, and flowers 
before the idol, accompanying each act with the proper 
piece of ritual utterance, and the god is served for the 

On high days enormous festivals took place, when 
thousands of people assembled to do honour to their 
god. Then the little wooden image would be reverently 


taken out of his shrine and placed in a portable shrine 
or ark, which was set upon the model of a Nile boat 
carried on the shoulders of priests by means of poles 
passed through rings attached to its sides. The little 
shrine was often enshrouded by the wings of a protect- 
ing divinity in a way which suggests at once that here 
we have the original of the Hebrew cherubim with 
wings overshadowing the mercy-seat above the ark, 
which, it will be remembered, was carried in a similar 
fashion. The god, thus prepared for the road, was 
carried through the temple and the streets of the town. 
At intervals the ark was set down on stone pillars pro- 
vided for the purpose, and at these stations of the god 
hymns were sung, prayers made, incense burned, and 
then the curtains of the little shrine were drawn aside and 
the god was revealed for a moment to his faithful people. 
All this sounds very trifling and childish, and indeed 
is so. The striking feature of the bulk of Egyptian 
religion is its externality. It is purely a business of 
ritual, which never seems to touch the heart and life 
of the worshipper at all. That, of course, is the 
tendency in all religions where there is an elaborate 
ritual of sacrifice, and it grew to be very much the 
same in the Hebrew worship. But the Hebrew had a 
sense of personal relationship to God and of personal 
accountability for sin which the Egyptian, so far as 
one can judge, never reached. In all the enormous 
bulk of Egyptian religious literature there is scarcely 
such a thing as acknowledgment of sin, save in one 
hymn, where the writer says, " O Lord, chastise me not 
according to my many sins." When one thinks of the 
Hebrew Psalms, with their constant expression of 
penitence, the contrast is very striking. 

220 EGYPT 

But to imagine that this childish devotion to ritual 
was the whole of Egyptian religion would be to do an 
injustice to this great people. There was one aspect of 
religion in which it became a very real and living thing 
to the Egyptian, affecting his whole life probably to a 
greater extent than that to which any other people has 
ever been affected by an article of faith. That aspect 
was afforded by the belief in the resurrection and the 
life everlasting. How the belief first arose and grew to 
the form and development in which we see it no one 
can tell. At the very beginning of things, and in the 
earliest extant religious inscriptions, the Pyramid Texts, 
we find the belief in the life after death already fully 
established and clearly defined. 

The whole idea circled around a single god Osiris, 
as we call him, following the Greek version of the 
Egyptian name Ausar the nearest approach to a 
universal god that the Egyptians ever knew. What 
they believed with regard to him was something like 
this. Osiris was a good and beneficent being who 
ruled over the world in the beginning, teaching men 
the useful arts and ideas of mercy and loving-kindness. 
But he was hated by his brother Set, the incarnation 
of the evil principle, and Set, by means of a base 
stratagem, got him into his power, slew him, and 
scattered the members of his body over the earth. 
His faithful wife, Isis, gathered the poor fragments of 
her husband's corpse and buried them, and with 
anxious care protected her young son Horus against 
the wiles of Set. When Horus grew to manhood he 
challenged Set, and defeated him in single combat. 
Then the whole case was referred to the council of the 
great gods, which justified Osiris, raised him from the 



dead, and made him lord of the souls of men in the 

Having thus grasped the idea of their god being 
raised from the dead, the Egyptians at a very early 
stage of their history took the next step to the idea 
that those who believed in Osiris and lived righteous 
lives would, like their god, be raised from the dead, 
justified in the face of all accusers, and allowed to 
enter upoi a life of blessedness to all eternity. There 
is surely no more remarkable phenomenon in the 
history of religion than this anticipation of the Christian 
doctrine of the resurrection and the life eternal in 
Christ Jesus. It was in this aspect of religion that the 
ethical side of the Egyptian's faith found its develop- 
ment. The dead did not enter upon everlasting life 
without challenge. Death, even for the truest believer, 
was followed by judgment. The dead man was mum- 
mified and placed in the tomb with many amulets to 
protect him from the dangers of the underworld, and 
with a copy of the Book of the Dead to furnish him 
with all the passwords necessary to defeat the evil 
spirits and demons who should assault his soul on its 
perilous journey along the difficult and dangerous 
roads that led to the abode of the blessed. Finally, if 
he were properly instructed in the words of power 
that commanded the spirits and made obstacles yield, 
he arrived at the Hall of the Twofold Truth, where 
souls were judged, and its gates opened before him as 
he uttered the password which he had learned. Then 
he stood in the presence of forty-two gods of grim and 
fearsome aspect, the jury appointed to try each soul 
that entered the hall. To each of these terrible beings 
he had to make the assertion that he had not been 

222 EGYPT 

guilty of the particular sin which it was this creature's 
duty to punish. And these forty-two assertions make 
up the famous Negative Confession from which we 
have learned practically all that we know about the 
Egyptian code of morality. To call it a Confession is 
really an abuse of words ; for an Egyptian never 
confessed sin or expressed penitence. On the contrary 
he stoutly denied that he had been guilty of sin ; and 
we learn the things which he considered sinful by his 
denial of them. 

Thus, with regard to his fellow men, he asserted 
such things as these : " I have not slain man or 
woman " ; "I have not committed theft " ; " I have 
not made light the bushel " ; and, a touch characteristic 
of a land where irrigation is all important, " I have not 
turned back water in its time " ; " I have not cut a 
cutting in a canal of running water." With regard to 
God : " I have not cursed the god " ; "I have not 
purloined the things that belong to God"; "I have 
not thought scorn of God." And with regard to his 
own spirit : " I have not multiplied my speech over- 
much" ; "I have not made haughty my voice" ; " I 
have not sought for distinctions." Altogether the list 
is wonderfully comprehensive, and it shows that the 
Egyptian's ideal of morality was no easy one ; whether 
he lived up to it or not is another matter. 

But the dead man's justification did not depend 
upon his own assertion of his guiltlessness alone. His 
life had to be tested independently, and the test 
consisted in the weighing of his heart, which the 
Egyptians, like other nations, considered to be the 
source of good or evil in the man. In the next act of 
the judgment, therefore, the deceased stood before a 


great balance. Beside the balance stood two of the 
gods, Anubis, to test the accuracy of the balance, and 
Thoth to record the result of the weighing ; while 
behind crouched a fearsome monster, part crocodile, 
part hippopotamus, awaiting the result. The dead 
man's heart was placed in the scale of the balance, and 
in the other was placed the feather which was the 
Egyptian emblem of truth. Before the weighing 
began, the dead man uttered an invocation to his 
heart, entreating it not to bear false witness against 
him before the gods. If the result of the weighing was 
unsatisfactory, the heart was cast to the monster to be 
devoured, and the deceased was doomed to punishment 
in the underworld or perhaps to annihilation. If, on 
the other hand, the heart exactly agreed with the truth, 
then he was pronounced justified, and led into the 
presence of Osiris, to be admitted to the joys of heaven. 
The heaven for which the Egyptians looked was a 
somewhat material one. Far away in the West, so 
they believed, lay a wonderful land, which was called 
by two names, the Fields of Bulrushes, or the Fields 
of Content. There the corn grew three yards high, 
and the ears of corn were a yard long. Pleasant 
shade-trees diversified the landscape, and beautiful 
canals full of fish ran through the fields. The way to 
these Elysian Fields was long and dangerous. Great 
serpents and dragons haunted it, ready to devour the 
unwary pilgrim ; deep rivers which no one could 
wade crossed the path, and gulfs of fire barred it. 
The dead man therefore had to be provided with 
amulets to protect him, and with words of power which 
would enable him to drive back the serpents, to quench 
the fires, and to command the ferryman at the rivers. 

224 EGYPT 

To meet all these needs there grew up that strange 
volume which we call the Book of the Dead. This 
book is sometimes spoken of as the Egyptian Bible ; 
but the title is very misleading. It has no resemblance 
to the Bible at all, and certainly no claim to stand on 
the same level with the Bible as a piece of sacred 
literature. It is simply a huge collection of charms 
and incantations to enable the soul to overcome the 
dangers of the way to heaven, mixed with a kind of 
guide-book giving directions as to what course the 
deceased was to take, and what he was to say at certain 
critical points such as the Hall of Judgment. A copy 
of the book was buried in the coffin of every Egyptian 
who could afford it, that so his spirit might be safe in 
the other world ; and it is from this book that we have 
learned a great deal of what is known of the Egyptian 
belief in immortality. 

When the dead man, fortified with his amulets and 
his Book of the Dead, had safely escaped all the 
dangers of the way and arrived at the Elysian Fields, 
a pleasant life opened before him. He could sow 
and reap at his pleasure, or drift in his little papyrus 
skiff along the canals, fishing or fowling. Then 
when the evening came, he could sit down under 
the shade of the sycamore trees, and eat and drink 
what the piety of his friends on earth had provided for 
him, and have a quiet game of draughts with his 
companions. It does not seem a very exalted idea of 
heaven, though perhaps some of our own ideas of 
the state of the blessed dead are not much more 

One feature of it seems very quaint to our minds. 
There was work to be done in heaven, ploughing, 

' - . 




ju DC 

= o 


5 < 


sowing, reaping, the maintenance of the banks of the 
canals, just as in Egypt, and so forth. Now that was 
all very well for the poor folk who had never known 
anything better on earth. But the better-off Egyptian 
who had never worked on earth did not see why he 
should work in heaven. Why could not he take his 
servants with him, and live in heaven the same life of 
dignified ease to which he had been accustomed ? To 
begin with, no doubt, he solved the problem by having 
his slaves killed at his grave that they might accom- 
pany and serve him in the world beyond. So many 
nations have done in their early days. 

But the Egyptian was, on the whole, a gentle and 
kindly creature, and he very soon sickened of this 
cruelty. Then, to meet the difficulty, he devised a 
quaint and ingenious expedient. In each coffin there 
was buried a number of little figures of porcelain or 
wood. They represented all kinds of servants, with 
every implement that could be required either in the 
house or in the field, and the idea was that, when the 
dead man was summoned in heaven to do any work, 
these little figures should rise up and answer for him, 
and do the work in his stead. They were called 
" Ushabtis " or " Answerers," and each one bore a 
little inscription : " O thou Ushabti, when I am called 
in the other world to do any work, to make the fields 
to grow, or to move the sand from east to west, then 
thou shalt answer, ' Here am I. 1 " Surely this curious 
people of the Nile Valley must be the only race which 
ever conceived the idea of dodging the obligations of 
the other world by carrying with them to heaven a 
bundle of china dolls. The little " answerers/' how- 
ever, have proved very valuable in a way their makers 

226 EGYPT 

never dreamed of, for they show us perfectly almost 
every detail of ordinary Egyptian life. They are a 
perfect set of models illustrating how men lived and 
wrought in those far-off days. 

The Fields of Bulrushes, however, did not represent 
the only conception of heaven which the Egyptians 
held. There were other ideas, quite inconsistent with 
this, which were accepted without any apparent recog- 
nition of the fact that they could not be reconciled 
with the Elysian Fields theory or with one another. 
One rather beautiful thought, for instance, was that 
the stars of heaven were the souls of just men made 
perfect. "They that be wise shall shine as the firmament, 
and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars 
for ever and ever." Or it might be that the just man was 
permitted after death to enter the boat in which the 
sun was supposed to sail along the celestial Nile, and 
to share his voyage, so that for him there was no real 
night, and he looked always upon the face of his god. 
" And there shall be no night there . . . and they shall 
see His face." 

One feature of the Egyptian belief meets us at every 
turn the conviction that the soul needed to have 
some local habitation to return to in case of necessity, 
and some means of support. The Egyptian did not 
believe, any more than we do, that the actual body of 
flesh and blood that was laid in the grave would rise 
again. He held, just as surely as St. Paul, that " flesh 
and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," and 
that what is " sown a natural body is raised a spiritual 
body." But he believed also that the spirit loved to 
return to its old abode, or, at least, to something 
recognizably like its own abode. Therefore the body 


was preserved with the utmost care, embalmed with 
a skill which has almost defied the centuries, wrapped 
in innumerable swathings of the finest linen, and laid 
in a costly sarcophagus inscribed with words of power 
to guard it. And so we can look, as nowhere else, 
upon the faces of the actual men who shaped the 
world's history 3000 or 4000 years ago. As an 
additional security the portrait statues, which have 
been already mentioned, were fashioned, so that the 
spirit, when weary of its wanderings might return to 
its old haunts, and find something there that at least 
might serve to remind it of the sweet familiar earthly 
life. It is a strange and rather a pathetic idea. 

Naturally in such a short sketch as the present, it 
has been possible only to touch the fringe of a subject 
to which there is almost no end. Many points of 
Egyptian belief of great interest, such as their curious 
idea as to how man first rebelled against God, and 
how God avenged himself upon them and was finally 
appeased, have to be left out of consideration alto- 
gether. There remains, however, one question that is 
of considerable importance to our subject. The 
Hebrews lived for generations amidst all this strange 
medley of religious ideas and practices. Did it leave 
them absolutely unaffected, or did it modify their own 
beliefs or their worship in anyway ? 

Probably we may pretty safely say that the influence 
was very much less than one would have naturally 
expected, and that, such as it was, it was almost wholly 
external. Certainly the Hebrews did take something 
from the Egyptian religion ; but it was not ideas they 
borrowed only forms and practices. Thus, for in- 
stance, we have seen that the worship of the golden 

228 EGYPT 

calf at Horeb, and the subsequent developments of a 
similar idolatry at Dan and Bethel, are probably trace- 
able to Egyptian influence. In the Horeb instance, the 
people who set up the calf had newly come out of 
Egypt ; in the case of Dan and Bethel, Jeroboam, 
who was responsible for the establishment of the wor- 
ship, had been long resident at the Egyptian Court. 

The Ark of the Covenant, again, with its cherubim 
overshadowing the mercy-seat with their outspread 
wings, and its arrangements for transport on the 
shoulders of the priests, no doubt owed its original 
suggestion to the shrines of the Egyptian gods, with 
their enshrouding wings and their carrying barks. 
Further, the arrangement of the Tabernacle and the 
Temple, with outer court, inner court, and Holy of 
Holies, is far more like the Egyptian type of temple 
than the Babylonian. The Babylonian temple was a 
tower, rising stage upon stage ; the Hebrew temple 
like the Egyptian, was a succession of courts, growing 
smaller and darker as they grew in sanctity, until the 
Holy of Holies was reached. 

Such are the Egyptian influences traceable in the 
Hebrew religion purely and solely external. There 
is scarcely a trace of the Hebrew having borrowed a 
single religious idea from his taskmaster. You can 
trace a close resemblance between the Creation story 
of Genesis, and the Creation story of the Babylonian 
religion. The Babylonians have a tradition of the 
Flood and the Ark,* whose resemblances to the Scrip- 
tural tradition conclusively prove a common origin for 
both. But there is no resemblance between any of 
the Egyptian religious legends and the Hebrew. The 
* And also of the Fall see note to page 160. 


1. GREAT GATE OF THE TEMPLE OF EDFU (//. 217 6 2 1 8) 

2. COURTS OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF EDFU (pp. 21 7 C^ 2 1 8) 


spiritual genius of the Babylonian and that of the 
Hebrew were evidently close akin and worked on similar 
lines. The genius of the Egyptian was totally alien from 
that of the Hebrew. The latter borrowed nothing 
from his master, because he looked at things from a 
totally different view-point. 

Most remarkable of all is the fact that the Israelite 
lived for so long in a land possessed, as no other land 
has ever been possessed, by the conviction and the pas- 
sion of immortal life, and yet took away nothing of that 
conviction. Here was the one point where Egypt 
might have made a distinct contribution to the Hebrew 
faith ; and even here the Hebrew refused to borrow. 
To get anything to equal the Egyptian belief in im- 
mortality you have to turn, not to the Old Testament, 
with its faint and wavering gropings after the possi- 
bility of a life beyond death. The Egyptian had already 
got far beyond anything that the Old Testament could 
teach in that respect. You must turn to the New 
Testament, and to the words of Him who said : " I 
am the Resurrect ion and the Life." 


THOUGH, strictly speaking, it may not absolutely fall 
within the limits of our subject, it may yet be worth 
while to tell here the strange story of a great religious 
movement which took place in Egypt during the time 
when the Israelites were living there, which no doubt 
influenced by its results their position among the 
Egyptians, and about which one can scarcely help 
wondering whether it may not have indirectly aided 
to shape Hebrew thought about God to the fashion 
which it afterwards took. We have seen how 
the Egyptians were naturally worshippers of " gods 
many and lords many," how material a thing their 
worship generally was, and how an essential part of it 
was the adoration of graven images of the god whom 
they served. No greater contrast can well be imagined 
than that between the materialism of the Egyptian 
religion, with its multiplication of idols, and the 
spiritual worship of Jehovah, which tolerated no image 
of the divine, and one of whose commandments was, 
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or 
any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that 
is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the 
earth : Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor 
serve them." 

But during the time of the Hebrew residence in 
Egypt there took place for a whole reign a most 



remarkable change in the Egyptian religion, It was 
almost entirely the work of one man a Pharaoh who 
came io the throne as a mere boy, and who died, broken- 
hearted and overwhelmed by misfortune, while still a 
young man, but who attempted to do one of the 
greatest things that ever a man put his hand and heart 
to. His reign was a great failure certainly, in many 
respects ; but it was a splendid failure, risked in a cause 
worth making sacrifices for, and it may well have had 
influences far deeper and more wide-spreading than we 
can imagine, upon the religious history of the world. 

At the very summit of Egypt's glory there stands a 
great King, Amenhotep III. He was the Solomon of 
the Egyptian Empire, as Tahutmes III had been its 
David. He inherited an empire which stretched from 
the Euphrates to the Sudan, and all the kings of the 
ancient world were eager to claim his friendship and 
alliance. In the Tell-el-Amarna correspondence there 
are letters from the Kings of Babylonia and Assyria, in 
which these potentates vie with one another in the 
respect which they show to him and the eagerness with 
which they seek his gifts, His whole reign was one 
long succession of glory upon glory, undimmed by 
disaster, and scarcely even clouded by war. 

Among his many wives there was one named Tyi, 
not of royal blood, though of distinguished parentage, 
who was evidently a most remarkable woman, and to 
whose influence we may attribute a great deal of the 
beginnings of what followed. Her influence over her 
husband was very great ; so much so that on the very 
scarab on which the King announces his marriage to 
Gilukhipa, daughter of the King of Mitanni, Tyi's name 
is mentioned before that of the newly-made royal bride. 

232 EGYPT 

Tyi's son, named Amenhotep like his father, was 
destined to be the next Pharaoh of Egypt ; and during 
the latter years of the reign of Amenhotep III, we can 
trace a religious movement, no doubt encouraged by 
her, in the direction of the worship of a new god who 
should supersede the old gods of Egypt. 

At this time the chief god of the land was the god of 
Thebes, the capital city. His name was Amen, which 
perhaps means "the Hidden One," and his influence 
was very great. The King himself was named after 
him, for Amenhotep means "Amen is content/' and 
his priesthood and temples were the most magnificent 
in the land. It might, indeed, be a question whether 
the Pharaoh or the priesthood of the great god of 
Thebes were the more powerful. The other gods of 
the land were still worshipped, of course, but they had 
fallen very much into the background, and we may 
imagine that their priests were jealous enough of the 
upstart god of Thebes, and ready enough for anything 
that would diminish his power and glory. 

Apparently Queen Tyi had grown weary of the old 
religious ideas around her, with their materialism and 
their endless ritual ; and her mind was reaching out 
towards the idea of a god who should be spirit and not 
matter, and who should be the god of the whole 
human race, instead of the god of one proud city and 
priesthood. Her husband was, no doubt, too much 
the slave of the existing order of things for her to 
succeed in persuading him to make any vital change ; 
but she evidently succeeded in filling the mind of her 
young son with a passionate devotion to her own more 
spiritual form of faith. And when the old King died, 
after a reign of 36 years, and the young Amenhotep 


came to the throne a mere boy, but, like most Easterns, 
far older than his years, it quickly became evident that 
her teaching had borne fruit. 

Not long after his accession, the young king began 
to build in Thebes, almost under the shadow of the 
huge temple of Amen, a temple to the unknown god 
whose nature and power he was beginning to realize. 
So far his ideas had not reached full development ; 
such a phenomenon was scarcely to be expected in a 
boy, and the god whom he served was not a great 
deal more than a form of the old Egyptian Sun god> 
whose worship, one of the oldest forms of worship 
in Egypt, had been obscured by that of the god of 
Thebes, Neither does it appear that he realized as yet 
that there could only be one God worthy of service. 
The other gods were still worshipped, and their 
temples were still open and thronged. But even so, 
the new movement must quickly have excited the 
jealousy and hostility of the priesthood of Amen, who 
saw their own god put down from his pride of place to 
make room for an outsider. 

Quickly, however, very possibly all the more quickly 
because of the opposition which they met from the 
supporters of the established faith, his ideas began to 
mature. He began to see that God was an invisible 
spiritual being, who could not be represented by 
images made with hands ; that He was not the God 
of one particular city, or even of one particular nation, 
but of all Kinds ; that He loved all men, whatsoever 
their race or colour, with an equal love ; that He was 
the Creator, Preserver, and compassionate Father of 
all men and of all living creatures. The God whom 
he thus conceived he called by the name "Aten," 

234 EGYPT 

which means roughly " Lord " or " The Lord/' and 
corresponds to the Semitic " Adon," as in Adonis 
and Adonai. What he imagined this Lord to be was 
the invisible and intangible power which creates and 
sustains all things something, in fact, not very far 
from what is at the back of our own idea about God. 

Fje linked this_ Being, indeed^ wjth the sun, which is 
the apparent jsource of all life and J^^ 1 pOjhp 
and the sun's disc was h e e in M enT^of ^h i s 

divinity ; but he did not worship the sun, nor allow 
jiny worship to tejyven Jo the symbol by whichjlie 
represented* God. That symbol, Tfie^solar disc with 
rays extending from it ending in hands which^besto\y 
gifts tijxmjmen, appears everywhere to typify God and 
tfie^yine beneficeuce. but it, is nc?ver adored. The 
true God, the^king sa jd, has no form. Much in the 
same way we use the Cross as the symbol of our 
creed ; but the Cross is not worshipped onljM.he 
God who revealed TFi mself and His will for man's 

salvation in the "Cross. 

-. fctx ** *-- *<*.-*.**-* ^.,,. 

Never before had^man conceived such a 

a God who could not be.,grce[yed 
by. the senses^ and was not endowed with form and 
substance like a human being, but who was yet ir 
closes^ tcxupjk withajMiujnanj t jj and directly interestec; 
in all that concerns men. The early Hebrew religious 
thinkers speak of God as walking in the garden in the 
cool of the evening, and as having face and form and 
parts. We know, of course, that all this is figurative, 
and represents the first gropings of the child mind of 
humanity after the thought of God gropings naturally 
governed by the limits imposed by human sense and 
experience. Anthropomorphism seems to be practically 


a universally necessary stage in the development of all 
religions. Yet here^we -..have .Jthis Jpung king, long 
before the earliest conceivable 'date ^^jlof^jthfi 
Hebrew sacred writings, al^d^iSTadvancjsd bevond 
such a materiaj way of thinking about Jiis deity^ 

Such ideas as these were naturally" bound to meet 
with virulent opposition. Men's minds were not ready 
for them. Centuries were to elapse before they were 
to be received as possibilities of thought. All the 
vested interests of the old gods were attacked by them, 
and all the classes who, like the silversmiths of Ephesus, 
found their bread and butter in idolatry, were up in 
arms. And no doubt it was the hatred and opposition 
offered by the priesthood and its supporters to his new 
ideas that led the young king on to his next step, and 
to his great mistake. Being persecuted, he became a 
persecutor. He was still, heretic or no, the supreme 
power in Egypt, and if the old gods and their ad- 
herents would not tolerate his new ideas, he could at 
least secure their overthrow for so long as his power 

So the decree went forth, and the great temples of 
the land were all closed, their worship put a stop to, 
the use of the names of their gods forbidden. Above 
all the edict was meant for the worship of Amen the 
god of Thebes, and it was ruthlessly carried out. 
From every relief on temple wall or tomb the name 
and the figure of the hated god were battered out ; in 
every decree they were erased. In temple after temple 
to-day you can still see the reliefs with the figures of 
ancient kings adoring their god, but the figure of the 
god has been hacked from the stone by the reforming 
zeal of the young Pharaoh. His own name, Amen- 

2 3 6 EGYPT 

hotep, " Amen rests/' bore witness to the hated god, 
and so he changed it, glorious though his forefathers 
had made it, and called himself henceforward {t Akhen- 
aten," which means " Aten is satisfied." Even his own 
father's name was hacked mercilessly out of every 
inscription that the King could lay his hands upon, 
that the title of the hated god should nowhere be seen. 

But not even a Pharaoh of Egypt, God on earth 
though his subjects reckoned him, could thus upset the 
whole course of a religious development that had lasted 
for more than 2000 years without exciting the bitter 
ill-will of a large section of the nation. The priests, 
whose pride he had insulted and whose revenues he 
had cut short, were the most powerful and closely 
organized body in the community. Behind them, no 
doubt, stood many of their connexions in the ruling 
caste, all the tradesmen and workpeople who had 
served the temples, and multitudes of people who were 
ignorantly devoted to the old gods. So, bit by bit, life 
in Thebes became intolerable to the King. Every- 
where he saw the deserted temples, and was met by the 
scowls and muttered curses of the priests, against 
whose order he had struck so deadly a blow. Very 
likely there were plots and schemes of assassination. 
And so finally Akhenaten determined on another 
drastic step. He resolved to leave Thebes and to make 
a new capital for the land, as devoted to the new god 
as Thebes had been to the old. 

Some distance north of Thebes he found a suitable 
site, in a spot where the cliffs recede from the river and 
leave a broad stretch of plain. There, on the site now 
known as Tell-el- Amarna, he began to rear a great city, 
which he called "The Horizon of the Lord." A great 



temple quickly rose to the new god, holding, like the 
Temple at Jerusalem, no image in its Holy of Holies. 
It was followed by a beautiful palace for himself, whose 
ruins, with their exquisite paintings and mosaics, have 
been unearthed of late years ; and around these two 
buildings grew up the houses of all the nobles and 
people whom devotion to the new religion, love of the 
young King, or self-interest could induce to follow him. 
So far as we know, the Pharaoh never saw his ancient 
capital again. Shut up in his peaceful new home, 
happy in his young wife and children, and constantly 
engaged in meditating upon the nature and the good- 
ness of his god, he spent the few years that remained 
to him. 

Fortunately we know some of the thoughts that 
passed through his mind as he pondered over the 
wonder of Divine power and love. For he was not 
only a thinker but a psalmist as well, and he has left 
us two beautiful hymns, in which he sang the praises 
of the God for whom he had sacrificed so much. No 
such hymns were ever written in Egypt before 
or after, and there is nothing like them in the 
literature of any other nation, till, centuries later, you 
meet in some of the Hebrew Psalms with passages 
which might almost be taken for an echo of the 
Pharaoh's praises. The hundred-and-fourth Psalm, in 
particular, presents so close a parallel to Akhenaten's 
Hymn that passages from the one hymn might almost 
be inserted in the other without raising any sense of 

We may take some of the lines of this ancient song 
of praise, and place side by side with them correspond- 
ing passages of the Hebrew Psalm. The royal poet 


begins with a brief introduction, describing the splen- 
dour of his God : 

Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven, 

O Living Lord, Beginning of Life ! 

When thou risest in the eastern horizon of heaven, 

Thou fillest every land with thy beauty, 

Thou bindest them by thy love. 

Though thou art afar, thy rays are on earth, 

Though thou art on high, thy footprints are the day. 

Then follow various passages, which are almost 
echoed, one might say, by the Hebrew Psalm ; which, 
we must remember, was written centuries later : 


When thou settest in the 
western horizon of Heaven, the 
world is in darkness like the dead. 
Every lion cometh forth from his 
den. All serpents sting. Dark- 
ness reigns. \\ hen thou risest 
in the horizon, the darkness is 
banished. . . . Then in all the 
land they do their work. 

All trees and plants flourish 
... the birds flutter in their 
nests, their wings uplifted in 
adoration to thee. All sheep leap 
upon their feet. 

The ships sail up stream and 
down stream. . . . The fish in 
the river leap up before thee, and 
thy rays are in the midst of the 
Great Sea. 

How manifold are all thy 
works. Thou did'st create all 
the earth according to thy desire, 
men, cattle, all that are upon the 


Thou makest darkness, and it 
is night, wherein all the beasts of 
the forest do creep forth. The 
young lions roar after their prey ; 
they seek their meat from God. 

The sun riseth, they get them 
away and lay them down in their 
dens. Man goeth forth unto his 
work and to his labour until the 

The trees of the Lord arc full ot 
sap . . . wherein the birds make 
their nests. The high hills are a 
refuge for the wild goats. 

Yonder is the jea, great and 
wide, wherein are both small and 
great beasts. There go the ships, 
there is that Leviathan uhom 
thou hast made to play therein. 

O Lord, how manifold are thy 
works. In wisdom hast thou 
made them all. The earth is 
full of thy creatures. 


Thou hast set a Nile in Heaven, He watereth the hills from 
that it may fall for them, making above ; the earth is filled with the 
floods upon the mountains and fruit of thy works. He bringeth 
watering their fields. forth grass for the cattle, and 

The world is in thy hand, even green herb for the service of man. 
as thou hast made them. When These wait all upon thee. . . . 
thou hast risen they live; when When thou openest thine hand, 
Lhou settest they die. By thee they are filled with good. When 
man liveth. thou hidest thy face they are 

troubled ; when thou takest away 
their breath they die and return 
to their dust. 

"Thou art in my heart/' the young Pharaoh cries 
ji his last verse, " There is none other that knoweth 
thee, save thy son Akhenaten. Thou hast made him 
wise in thy designs and thy might ! " Manifestly, if 
k his hymn, with a few trifling alterations of names and 
titles, had been found in the middle of our Psalter, we 
should cheerfully have accepted it as a worthy com- 
panion to a Psalm which describes, as beautifully as 
*ver did a song of praise, the bounty and beneficence of 
lie great Creator. And this was written by a king of a 
leathen land, at the age of twenty or twenty-one, nearly 
[400 years before Christ, and at least 400 years before 
he very earliest Psalm of our Psalter was penned. It 
nay safely be said that when it was written there was 
lot another man in the world, not even among the 
Jhosen People, who had reached such a spiritual con- 
option of God and such a wonderful idea of His loving- 
mildness and goodnebs as had this king whom we should 
jail a Pagan ! 

If the traditional view of the date of the Exodus 
>e correc't, it must be remembered that all this re- 
i^rkable development of a new faith happened more 
>r less under the eyes of the people whom God had 

2 4 o EGYPT 

ordained to be the instruments of His self-revelation to 
the world. It looked for a time almost as though their 
work were going to be anticipated by other hands, and 
as though the spiritual history of the race were going 
to be antedated by several centuries. One wonders 
what those of their number who were scattered among 
the native Egyptians (as we know from Exodus that 
they were scattered) thought of it all, and whether they 
realized anything of the significance of what was hap- 
pening before them. Quite probably not, for the young 
Pharaoh's view of religion was practically as far in 
advance of that of the great bulk of the Hebrew nation 
as it was in advance of that of his own people. Moses 
might have appreciated what Akhenaten was trying to 
do, but the time for Moses had not yet come. 

Neither, as the event unfortunately and tragically 
proved, had the time come for such a work as the King 
was trying to do. It was the age not of the thoughtful 
mind, but of the strong hand. The world was being 
governed on the simple principle 

That they should take who have the power, 
And they should keep who can. 

Egypt had, nominally, a great empire. Practically 
all Palestine, Phoenicia, and Syria were hers, and had 
been, more or less, since the days of Tahutmes III. But 
they were hers only so long as she could hold them in 
a grasp too firm to be relaxed ; and eager claimants to 
her inheritance were watching for the first sign of 

In the north the Hittites and Amorites were restlessly 
intriguing and undermining Egyptian authority. From 
the east marauding desert bands were thrusting them- 


HA R K O !' A M KN , K A R X A K ( />/. 2 1 8 J:^" 2 Kj ) 

Note the Ark wiaimed with a vi! ;uul carried in a boat 


selves in on Palestine. What was needed was a man 
of action, a great soldier to be a wall against the tide 
of invasion. But on the throne of Egypt sat a man 
who dreamed, not of world-empires, but of the King- 
dom of God. And the children of this world proved 
wiser, or at least stronger, in their generation, than this 
child of light. 

We have the whole story of how Akhenaten lost the 
empire of Egypt told by the actors in the drama them- 
selves. A few years ago a peasant-woman, digging 
among the ruins of the king's palace at Tell-el-Amarna, 
came upon a small room where hundreds of little clay 
tablets had been stored. It was the Egyptian Foreign 
Office Letter Department of those ancient days, and 
when the tablets came to be studied it proved that they 
were all letters written in the arrow-headed character 
of Babylonia, which was the diplomatic script of the 
times, from various kings, governors, and Egyptian 
residents and vassals of the time, to the young Pharaoh, 
telling him of the progress of affairs in Syria. 

Some of them, it can be seen, are from loyal friends 
of Egypt ; some of them from traitors trying to disguise 
their treachery. The letters from the true men are 
infinitely pathetic. Again and again they tell the king 
how the enemies are pressing in upon them, Hittites 
and Amorites upon the northern towns, desert tribes 
upon the towns of central and southern Palestine ; 
and always their appeal is for help from Egypt. " Send 
us troops, 1 ' is the perpetual cry, " even if it be only a 
handful. The mere sight of Egyptian standards in the 
field would save us, even with nothing but a score of 
men beneath them." The letters grow more and more 
desperate as the danger waxes and the enemies gather 


242 EGYPT 

more thickly. One poor governor, Ribadda of By bios, 
who writes very frequently, closes his last surviving 
letter with one sombre sentence : " And the enemy do 
not depart from the gate of Byblos." After that 
silence ! And you can imagine how the city was 
stormed and the despairing governor fell fighting 
loyal to the last. 

From the governor of Jerusalem, Abd-Khiba, in 
particular, the letters are urgent. "There remains not 
one prince to my Lord the King, every one is ruined. 
Let the King take care of his land, and let him send 
troops. For if no troops come in this year the whole 
territory of my Lord the King will perish. If there are 
no troops in this year, let the King send his officer to 
fetch me and my brethren, that we may die with my 
Lord the King." Then when the letter is done, the 
anxious man bethinks himself that perhaps still he has 
not said enough, and he adds a postscript : " To the 
scribe of my Lord the King, thy servant. Bring these 
words plainly before my Lord the King, i the whole 
land of my Lord the King is going to ruin/ " And 
there is one letter from a northern town, Tunip, which 
moves the heart even after all those interested in its 
fortunes have been dust and ashes for thirty-three 
centuries. " And now Tunip, thy city, weeps, and her 
tears are flowing, and there is no help for us. For 
twenty years we have been sending to our Lord the 
King, the King of Egypt, but there has not come a 
word to us, no, not one ! " 

You can picture the impossible situation. Away in 
Syria, the vassal princes, desperately contending against 
hopeless odds, sending off letter after letter to appeal 
for help, always with less and less hope that the help 


would be granted, gradually awakening to the convic- 
tion that Egypt had forsaken them ; and at Tell-el- 
Amarna, the young Pharaoh dreaming of a kingdom of 
righteousness and peace and joy, his mind full of 
wonderful thoughts of the love of God, caring not at all 
for any worldly interest, but only for how he might 
teach and constrain other men to think of God as he 
thought. The Foreign Office scribes wily enough not 
to trouble their master with unpleasant business, or 
bought, as there is reason, in one case at least, to 
believe, by Egypt's enemies, quietly docqueting and 
pigeon-holing the letters whose reception meant life 
or death to the man at the front. The army, never 
allowed to prove themselves in the field, but descen- 
dants of the old veterans of Sj rian campaigns who had 
scattered these Asiatics like dust in many a battle, 
angrily chafing at their forced inactivity ; and the 
priests, whom the king had curbed, whispering in 
corners, exulting almost openly over every fresh 
disaster, and asking, " What else could be expected 
under a king who had forsaken the gods who made 
his country glorious ?" 

So things went from bad to worse ; and, while the 
king perfected his doctrine and put the finishing 
touches to his beautiful hymns, the empire that his 
fathers had left him crumbled to pieces. In eighteen 
years from his accession Egypt had scarcely a foot of 
land left her beyond her own frontier. Then came 
the end. Akhenaten had never been a strong man, 
and we may well believe that when the shock of 
disaster awoke him at last from his dreams, his burden 
was greater than he could bear. He found himself 
left alone, his empire lost, his subjects alienated by a 

244 EGYPT 

policy which they could not be expected to under- 
stand, far less sympathize with, his whole beautiful 
world of peace and goodwill tumbled in ruins about 
his head. There was only one way out. He died, 
bi uken-hearted we may well believe, still in early 
manhood ; and within a few years all the work he had 
accomplished was undone again. His new capital 
was deserted, the old gods reigned supreme again, 
and a perfect midnight of hatred descended upon his 
very memory. He was never named again in Egypt ; it 
is always " that criminal/' when he is referred to. The 
world has always killed its prophets and stoned them 
that were sent unto it, and this young Pharaoh was no 
exception to the rule. 

Seven years ago (1907) an American explorer, Mr. 
Theodore M. Davis, found in the Valley of the Kings, 
at Thebes, the rock-hewn tomb of Akhenaten's mother, 
Queen Tyi. A coffin lay within it, apparently that of 
the old queen, and within the coffin a few mouldering 
bones. But when the coffin was examined, the name 
of Akhenaten was found upon it, mutilated, but still 
legible ; and when the bones were submitted to 
Professor Elliot Smith for inspection, they proved to 
be those, not of an old woman, but of a young man 
Queen Tyi's gifted and unhappy son. When he died 
they buried him beside his mother ; but priestly hatred 
warred even against the dead. The queen was not 
suffered to rest beside her heretic son even though 
it was her influence which first sowed the seeds of 
heresy in his mind. Her body was taken away from 
the tomb polluted by the presence of " that criminal/' 
and the remains of the world's earliest reformer were 
left to dishonoured solitude. 


It seems all very strange and sad, as though God's 
cb had somehow missed ..icir \v.. w t . . i HU path 
ended at a blank wall. Yet perhaps it v**s not 
altogether so. It may not be entirely too fanciful to 
surest the sceu of truth which he sowed in the 
land may iii uic couise of years have borne fruit in a 
direction from which he never looked foi * harvest, 
and may have become part of the inspiration of the 
greater man who led forth the Children of Israel to 
become a standing witness to the Invisible and Eternal 
God of all the earth. Even if such an idea be dis- 
missed as impossible, we can see historically how his 
failure prepared the way for the Chosen People's 
entrance upon the Promised Land. An Egyptian 
Empire such as* ins fathers left, holding all Palestine 
with a firm grasp, would have been an absolute bar 
to the Israelite conquest of Canaan. It was the 
destruction of the Egyptian power in Palestine that 
left the Holy Land bare for the advance of Joshua and 
the tribes. 



OUR closing chapter must be more or less one of 
fragments. In it we have to gather up what is known 
about a few of the nations which influenced the 
Hebrew race at various periods of their career, but are 
not, for the student of Bible history, of anything like 
the same importance as the Babylonians, Assyrians, or 
Egyptians. By far the greatest of these is the strange 
and little-known race of the Hittites, who, except for a 
few references in the Bible and a few statements on 
the Egyptian monuments which scarcely anyone 
thought of linking with the scriptural references, were 
a people absolutely unknown till within the last few 
years. Even now we cannot say that we know the 
race ; their history has to be painfully pieced together 
out of very scanty materials, and is still very obscure 
in many respects, their language still remains unde- 
ciphered, one of the most baffling and tantalizing 
problems for the scholar, 'and the little that we do 
know about them only concerns the short period during 
which their empire reached its height and then 

Yet investigations have been carried on at various 
cities of their land at Boghaz-Kyoi, which the Greeks 
knew as Pteria, and which the Hittites themselves 
called Hatti the capital and royal centre of the 



confederacy of states which formed the empire at 
Yasili Kaya, the central shrine of the land, at Saktjegozu 
Oyuk, and Carchemish ; and the result has been a 
considerable addition to our first-hand knowledge of 
their history and their art. Particularly at Boghaz- 
Kyoi the discovery, made by Winckler, of a number of 
tablets relating to the affairs of the Hittite Empire, 
and written, like the Tell-el-Amarna letters, in cunei- 
form, has helped us not only to a knowledge of the 
affairs of the Hittites themselves, but to a clearer 
understanding of the international situation in the 
days to which the archives refer. 

The earliest references to the race, are those given 
in the Book of Genesis where we have Heth referred 
to in the genealogical table (Gen. x. 15), and 
Abraham concludes his purchase of the field of 
Machpelah from the children of Heth (Gen. xxiii. 3) ; 
and though we have no independent evidence of the 
Hittite colonization having reached so far as Hebron 
at this early date, there is no reason to doubt that a 
race so vigorous and enterprizing may have had more 
than one burst of expansion, and may have reached 
Hebron in this earlier stage of its history. Then we 
find them referred to in the lists of nations driven out 
by Israel, and in various passages of the historical books, 
where they appear as an important nationality in the 
north. The most interesting reference is that in the 
account of the flight of the Syrian army from before 
Samaria, where it is said (II Kings vii. 6) : "For the 
Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise 
of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a 
great host ; and they said one to another, ' Lo the King 
of Israel hath hired against us the Kings of the Hittites, 


and the Kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us/ " 
Dreading to be caught between two hosts from the North 
and the South, the Syrians made the best of their escape. 

Who then were these Hittites, and what was their 
accomplishment in the history of the ancient East ? 
Their racial origin is somewhat doubtful. Some 
authorities believe them to have been of Mongolian 
descent ; others deny this, and would claim kinship 
for them with the modern Armenians. Their home, 
at all events, lay in the heart of Asia Minor in Cappa- 
docia, where their chief capital Boghaz Kyoi was 
perched 3000 feet above sea-level among the hills. 
They were a mountain race, and fortunately we know 
fairly well what they were like. Their own monu- 
ments are not skilfully enough executed to do much 
more than give us a general impression of a somewhat 
squat and heavily-built people, rather clumsy in their 
strength, heavily clothed, as became a mountain race, 
with tall conical caps, and heavy boots turned up at 
the toes. The Egyptians, however, thorough students 
of racial type, have given us on their monuments the 
race features of the Hittites in unmistakable fashion 
the high protruding nose, the receding forehead and 
chin, the closely shaven face, and the long pigtail. 

Their earliest appearance upon the stage of world- 
history was sufficiently dramatic. In the reign of the 
Babylonian King Samsuditana, the last representative 
of the house of Hammurabi, these fierce Anatolian 
highlanders burst from behind their mountain-screen 
of Taurus, stormed down the whole valley of the two 
rivers, took and sacked Babylon, and retreated as 
rapidly as they had come, laden with plunder, to their 
mountain fastnesses. It was a mere piece of reiving 


A (ikOrr 01 KllYlTIAN (iODS (//. 220 v>* 22 I ) 

SKTV i oin.Rixr, INCKNSK TO OSIKIN AF.vnos ( /y. 2200- 221) 


on a colossal scale ; but it changed the course of his- 
tory for nearly six centuries. The Kassites, who were 
already pressing on the southern frontier of Babylon, 
took advantage of the favourable opportunity, and 
established their dynasty upon the throne of Babylon 
(1750 or 1800 B.C.). After this remarkable exploit, 
which stamped them as a people to be reckoned with 
and feared, we hear nothing of them for many years. 
In the annals of one of the campaigns of Tahutmes III 
(33rd year, 1470 B.C.), the great Egyptian soldier 
mentions that the chiefs of Great Khati had sent 
presents ; but he claims no sovereignty over them, and 
apparently never came into conflict with them. Some 
of his successors were not quite so fortunate. 

The Hittite power consisted of a number of small 
States, each with its own head and its own capital, 
so that the term "the Kings of the Hittites" in 
II Kings vii. 6 is strictly accurate. But the great 
mother city was Hatti, now Boghaz-Kyoi, and there 
about 1400 B.C. Hattusil I founded the dynasty which 
was to unite the Hittite States into a strong confederacy 
for two hundred years. The founder of the dynasty 
was succeeded by Shubbiluliuma, one of the wiliest 
and most far-seeing of sovereigns. The whole story of 
the reign of this "Hittite Bismarck," as Mr. H. R. 
Hall aptly names him, is the story of an ingenious and 
successful attempt to manoeuvre Egypt out of her 
empire in North Syria and Phoenicia without com- 
mitting himself to the actual hazard of war with the great 
Southern power. Shubbiluliuma had no intention of 
fighting either with Egypt or with Egypt's allies if he 
could help it. He preferred to have others pull the 
chestnuts out of the fire for him, 


Accordingly, even before the end of the reign of 
Amenhotep III, he had already begun to foment re- 
bellion among some of the Amorite vassals of Egypt 
in Northern Syria. One Amorite prince in particular, 
Abdashirta, with his son Azirti, both of them true speci- 
mens of Oriental cunning, were incited by him to the 
gradual undermining of Egyptian authority. There 
was no open war against Egypt ; Abdashirta and Aziru 
were much too wily for that. But wherever there was 
a faithful vassal of Egypt, he was annoyed and harassed, 
his towns assailed, and if it were possible to do so 
quietly, he himself put out of the way. Then if com- 
plaints were made to Egypt, Abdashirta and his son 
wrote explaining that the other man was the traitor, 
and that they were protecting Egyptian interests. 
The Tell-el-Amarna letters set the whole underhand 
business before us with wonderful fulness the letters 
of Ribadda of Byblos, the main support of Egyptian 
authority in North Syria, and apparently one of the 
few honest men there, being full of denunciations of 
the treachery and violence of the two Amorite 

After the death of Amenhotep III, and when the 
conspirators had had time to gauge the character of 
his unworldly successor Akhenaten, the plot went on 
more gaily than ever, and the Egyptian vassals were 
either cut off one by one, or went over to what was 
manifestly the successful side. Abdashirta, one is glad 
to learn, came by a violent end before he witnessed 
the full success of his treachery, and it is a comfort 
to know that quite possibly it was at the hands of 
the honest Ribadda's men that he met his end. Then 
his son Aziru was at last summoned to Egypt to answer 


for his misdeeds; but managed so to use his Court 
influence and to distribute bribes judiciously that he 
was confirmed in the conquests he had made, and 
went back nominally an Egyptian vassal, actually ruler 
of a fair-sized kingdom which he had gained by the 
murdering of Egyptian subjects and the destruction 
of Egyptian prestige. 

The empire of Egypt in North Syria and Phoenicia 
had thus passed apparently to the Amorites. But the 
crafty old spider in Boghaz Kyoi knew better. Aziru 
had served his design admirably, and now the Amorite 
prince's usefulness was over, and he must be taught 
his proper place. So Shubbiluliuma, pretending to be 
insulted by Aziru's acceptance of Egyptian suzerainty, 
descended upon his unfortunate tool, and "ate him 
up/' defeating his army, and compelling him to swear 
allegiance to the Hittite Empire. So the whole tragi- 
comedy was played to its end, and the whole northern 
part of the Egyptian empire passed into the hands 
of the Hittites. Meanwhile Shubbiluliuma had been 
playing the same game with the powerful Iranian 
Kingdom of Mitanni, which was another obstacle in 
the way of his desire for empire. Once, in his earlier 
days before he had learned wisdom, he tried force with 
Mitanni, and was sharply defeated by the Mitannian 
King Dushratta. The lesson did not need to be 
repeated. Intrigue took the place of force, and at last 
Shubbiluliuma saw Dushratta murdered by his own 
son Mattiuaza. Mattiuaza fled to Boghaz Kyoi, where 
he was welcomed by the wily old schemer there, who 
gave him his daughter in marriage. Then, taking 
advantage of the confusion and anarchy into which 
Dushratta's murder had thrown Mitanni, Shubbilu- 


liuma marched in, the champion of order, and of the 
true line of succession, even though it was represented 
by a murderer. 

In a statement worthy of Mr. Pecksniff, the old 
intriguer explains how entirely virtuous are his 
reasons for occupying Mitanni. '' In order that the 
land of Mitanni, the great land, may not disappear, 
hath the Great King Shubbiluliuma summoned it to 
life for the sake of his daughter. For Mattiuaza, the 
son of Dushratta, have I taken by the hand, and have 
given him my daughter to wife/ 7 Thus Shubbiluliuma 
attained the summit of his ambition. " The cautious 
yet calculating policy of years was finally crowned 
with the attainment of the position at which he had 
aimed from the first, and Shubbiluliuma now as an 
old man reigned undisputed lord over the whole of 
north-western Asia." 

This may be looked upon as the apogee of the Hittite 
Empire. Assyria, which as yet had not been sure 
enough of its strength to venture upon opposition to the 
mountain confederacy, was rapidly rising to a position 
which forbade all further hope of Hittite expansion 
eastwards. And as the mountaineers pushed south 
along the Orontes Valley and into Galilee, they were 
met by a force with which even Shubbiluliuma had 
never dared to meddle. Sety I was doing his utmost 
to restore to Egypt the prestige which had been lost by 
the mysticism and other-worldliness of Akhenaten. 
His first campaign regained the neutral ground of 
Palestine for Egypt; in his second he pushed still 
further north, met the Hittites in the valley of the 
Orontes, and defeated them in a pitched battle. Mursil, 
the Hittite King, recognized that the Hittite advance 


had met with a definite check, and concluded a treaty 
of peace with Sety. Egypt had regained Palestine 
and Phoenicia ; the rest of Shubbiluliuma's conquests 
remained untouched. 

Fifteen years later Ramses II, in the heat of early 
manhood, broke the treaty which his father had made, 
and marched northwards on the Orontes Valley. He 
met the Hittite army, still, it appears, under Mursil, 
who must by now have been getting old, at Kadesh, 
and one of the most famous battles of antiquity 
followed. The result was indecisive, for though the 
Egyptians were left in possession of the field, their 
army was so shattered that Ramses was glad to accept 
the offer of a truce, and to draw off southwards as the 
Hittites retreated northwards. Mursil's successor, 
Mutallu, spent his whole reign in warfare with Ramses, 
and the struggle merely exhausted both nations 
without leading to any decisive result. Finally, when 
Mutallu's brother, Hattusil II, had succeeded him on 
the throne, a solemn treaty of peace, one of the most 
interesting, as it is one of the earliest of international 
treaties, was concluded between the two nations, and 
was sealed not long after by the marriage of the Hittite 
king's daughter to the now elderly Ramses. The 
Egyptian copy of this famous treaty has long been 
known, being preserved on the walls of Karnak and the 
Ramesseum. Portions of the original draft, inscribed 
in cuneiform upon clay, were discovered by Winckler 
in the archives of Boghaz Kyoi. 

Egypt was no great gainer by her wars with the 
Hittites, but neither was the rival power. In fact, 
from now it became more and more apparent that the 
Hittites had shot their bolt, and that the future lay 


not with them, but with their Eastern rivals the 

Two other kings, Dudhalia and Arnuanta, followed 
Hattusil II, and then, probably about the close of the 
reign of the latter (1200 B.C.), came the event which 
broke up the confederacy for ever the great invasion 
of the North-Westerners. A huge body of the restless 
tribes of the -^Egean islands Cretans, represented by 
the Pulesti, or Philistines, and the Tjakaray, or men 
of Zakro, Shakalsha, or Sagalassians, Danauna, or 
Danaoi, and others swept down on the land of the 
Hittites, on Cilicia, and the land of the Amorites. The 
Hittite confederacy was broken up and largely absorbed 
in this resistless movement. The invaders were really 
aiming at Egypt, but Egypt had found in Ramses III 
her last great soldier, and they were rolled back with 
great slaughter, both by land and sea, from her 
frontiers. When the wave had spent itself and re- 
ceded, the empire of the Hittites, founded with such 
pains of falsehood and duplicity by Shubbiluliuma, 
had ceased to exist, after a troubled endurance of 
about 200 years. 

The name and fame of the Hittites survived long after 
the reality of their power had gone, and even as kite 
as the eighth century Carchemish was still the capital 
city of a Hittite nation ; but the kingdom of Carchemish 
was a poor parody on the glory of an empire that once 
seemed destined to wrest the sovereignty of the civilized 
world from both Egypt and Assyria. 

One of the most picturesque features in the story of 
the Northern Kingdom is the account of the relations 
between the kings of Samaria and the nation which 
the Jewish historian calls the Syrians of Damascus. 


Its incidents are familiar to us all. The attempt of 
Asa of Judah to relieve the pressure on his own 
kingdom by making a league with Ben-hadad of Syria 
against Baasha of Israel (I Kings xv.) an attempt in 
appearance successful, but in actual fact a piece of 
mad folly, as it gave Damascus an opportunity, only 
too welcome, of interfering in the affairs of Palestine ; 
the repeated struggles of Omri and his son Ahab to 
shake off the dominance of the northern power, ending 
in the gallant death of Ahab, a good soldier though a 
bad man, in battle at Ramoth-Gilead ; the memorable 
siege of Samaria in Jehoram's reign, with the won- 
derful deliverance of the city through the panic flight 
of the Syrian army ; and, finally, the repetition by Ahaz 
of Judah of the mistake of his ancestor Asa, when he 
sought the alliance of Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria against 
Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Israel, " and the 
king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took 
it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew 
Rezin" (II Kings xvi. 9); these are the landmarks 
of the story. 

The Syrians of the Bible story are more properly 
Aramaeans, a nomad people of Arabian origin, who 
for some centuries before 1000 B.C. had gradually been 
wandering up from Arabia, crossing the Euphrates and 
attempting to make settlements in Mesopotamia. 
About the beginning of the first millennium B.C. they 
began to pour into the land in overwhelming numbers, 
until they occupied almost all Western Mesopotamia 
and overflowed into Syria. Gradually these Syrian 
immigrants pushed southwards until they had founded 
the kingdom of Damascus. At an early point in its 
history, Damascus was brought into hostile contact 


with the rising power of the Hebrew State under David 
and was brought into subjection (II Samuel viii. 5-6). 
The break-up of the Davidic kingdom, however, quickly 
altered the relationships of the two powers, and hence- 
forward the normal relationship was that Damascus 
was sometimes an overlord, sometimes a cosily friend, 
sometimes an open enemy to the Hebrew States ; but 
always a burden and a nuisance to them. 

At the same time, however, the Aramaeans of 
Damascus proved themselves one of the very few races 
who ever, for any length of time, made one of the 
great Assyrian conquerors call a halt to the march of 
his ambition, In 854 B.C. Shalmaneser II, who had 
been steadily extending his dominions westward and 
southward, broke new ground by marching upon 
Hamath, 100 miles north of Damascus. The danger 
had been foreseen, and Irkhtileni of Hamath, Ben-hadad 
of Damascus, and Ahab of Israel had formed a 
league to meet it. They did not await Shalmaneser's 
coming, but met him at Qarqar on the Orontes, 20 miles 
north of Hamath, with an army of 4000 chariots, 
2000 cavalry, a camel-corps of 1000, and 63,000 
infantry. In the great battle which followed, 
Shalmaneser claimed to have gained the victory, and 
to have slain 14,000 of his enemies ; but the fruits of 
the battle went to the allies, and the Assyrians with- 
drew to their own land without having captured the 
capitals of any of the allied States, or received their 
tribute. In 849 B.C. he made a second attempt with 
no greater success, and a supreme effort three years 
later, when the Assyrian king put into the field the most 
unusually large army, for those times, of 120,000 men, 
was also a failure. 


5 3 


Revolution, however, and the mutual jealousies of 
the allied States, did for him what his arms had not 
been able to accomplish. By 842 B.C., Ahab had fallen 
in the vain attempt to recover Ramoth-Gilead from 
his quondam ally. Ben-hadad himself had been 
treacherously murdered by Hazael, who succeeded 
him, and Ahab's son Joram had been slain by his 
captain Jehu. It is not impossible that these two last 
events had been fostered by Assyrian intrigue. 
Shalmaneser, at all events, tried the experiment of 
fishing in these troubled waters. To his attack on this 
occasion only Hazael was in a position to respond. 
Hamath apparently submitted, and Jehu of Israel, as 
the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser tells us, sent tribute 
"silver, gold, golden bowls, golden chalices, golden 
cups, golden buckets, lead, a royal sceptre, and spear- 
shafts." Deserted by his allies, Hazael still showed a 
bold front. Finally he was driven back upon Damascus ; 
but not all the efforts of the Assyrians could capture 
the city from the stubborn Aramaeans, and Shalmaneser 
had to return with the main object of his expedition 
unachieved. He tried his fortune again in 839, but 
found Hazael's resistance still too strong for him. 
Shalmaneser never again ventured south of Hamath. 
Hazael, however he may have gained the throne, proved 
a worthy champion of the cause of the smaller nations 
against the great Assyrian bully. 

Thirty-five years later, however, Adad-nirari III of 
Assyria proved more successful against Ben-hadad III, 
the son of Hazael, who was besieged in Damascus and 
forced to pay tribute. This disaster to the power of 
Syria gives the probable explanation of the otherwise 
obscure passage II Kings xiii. 5 : " And the Lord gave 


Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the 
hand of the Syrians." The weakening of Syria must 
have come as a welcome relief to Jehoahaz of Israel, 
who had been reduced to a miserable condition by his 
northern enemy. His son Joash pressed the advantage 
given him by the decline of Damascus, and in three 
successful campaigns regained the whole of the terri- 
tory of Israel east of the Jordan, while Jeroboam II, 
son of Joash, carried the matter farther still, and, very 
probably in alliance with the Assyrian kings Shal- 
maneserlll and Ashur-dan 1 1 1, succeeded in capturing 
Damascus and even the distant Hamath. 

The last appearance of the Syrians of Damascus 
upon the scene of ancient Oriental history is in con- 
nexion with the attempt made by their King Rezin, in 
conjunction with Pekah of Israel, to force Ahaz of 
Judah into an alliance against Tiglath-Pileser IV of 
Assyria. Finding himself unable to resist his oppo- 
nents, Ahaz, contrary to the cautious advice of the 
prophet Isaiah (Isaiah vii. 3 ct seq.) t applied for help to 
the Assyrian King, who at once took advantage of so 
specious a pretext for meddling in the affairs of Syria 
and Palestine. Damascus was invested for at least two 
years and was finally captured, its king Rezin slain, and 
its people, or at least the pick of them, deported, 
according to Assyrian custom, to Kir (732 B.C.). So 
ended the Aramaean kingdom of Damascus, just ten 
years before the destruction of its old enemy Samaria. 
If the "Syrians" of Scripture history were bitter and 
relentless foes of Israel, their stubborn resistance to all 
the might of Assyria shows that there must have been 
force and bravery among them. As a race perhaps the 
finest thing they have left us is the character and story 


of one of the very men whose hands were so heavy 
upon the people of Israel "Naaman, captain of the 
host of the King of Syria." 

There remain to be noticed two more of the nations 
around the Chosen People Moab and Edom, and that 
not because there is much to be added to the know* 
ledge of them which Scripture gives, but because in the 
case of Moab one modern discovery has given us one 
of the most precious contemporary records of the 
relationship between that State and the kingdom of 

The discovery in question is that of the famous 
Moabite stone, with its account of the successful 
attempt of the Moabites to regain their independence. 
During the reign of David, Moab, along with other 
States, had been added to the Hebrew kingdom ; but 
in the troubled times which followed the death of 
Solomon the land must have regained its freedom 
again. During the reign of Omri, however, it was 
brought into subjection to the northern kingdom, and 
in the time of Ahab we are informed (II Kings iii. 4) 
that Mesha, King of Moab, who was a flockmaster, 
rendered as his tribute to Israel "the wool of an 
hundred thousand lambs, and of an hundred thousand 
rams." Ahab's death at Ramoth-Gilead encouraged 
the Moabites to make a bid for freedom, the Israelites 
were driven out, and though King Jehoram of Israel, 
in alliance with Jehoshaphat of Judah, and the King of 
Edom, attempted to reduce them to subjection again, 
the effort ended in failure. 

In 1868 a Prussian traveller, the Rev. F. A. Klein, 
found at Dibon,in the land of Moab, a large inscribed 
stele, or pillar, of black basalt. The inscription proved 

2 6o MOAB 

to be King Mesha's own account of his successful rebel- 
lion. It is thus summarized by Dr. Driver (Schweich Lec- 
tures, 1908, p. 21) : " Omri, we learn from it, had gained 
possession of many of the cities claimed by Moab, and 
Mesha describes how he recovered them for Moab, and 
rebuilt and fortified them in the event of a siege. 
Most of the places named are mentioned in the Old 
Testament in descriptions of the territory on the east 
of Jordan. In one, Nebo, there was a sanctuary of 
Jehovah ; Mesha took it by assault, robbed it of its 
sacred vessels, and dragged them in triumph before 
Chemosh, the national god of Moab. The inscription 
furnishes many most interesting illustrations of the 
language and ideas of the Old Testament. The 
language differs only dialectically from Hebrew ; and 
in style it reads like a chapter from the Book of 
Judges or Kings. The terms in which Chemosh is 
spoken of are singularly like those used of Jehovah in 
the Old Testament. Chemosh is " angry " with his 
people, just as Jehovah sometimes is with Israel ; he 
says to Mesha, 'Go, take Nebo/ or 'Go down, fight 
against Horonen' just as we read, for instance 
(I Samuel xxiii. 4), 'Arise, go down to Keilah,' or 
(II Samuel xxiv. i), 'Go, number Israel and Judah' ; 
and he ' drives out ' Mesha's foes before him, just as 
Jehovah ' drives out ' the foes of Israel (Joshua xxiv. 18). 
And Mesha 'devotes' the inhabitants of a captured 
city to his god, just as in the Book of Joshua and 
elsewhere we often read of the Israelites doing (e.g., 
Joshua vi. 21, R.V. margin; I Samuel xv. 3, 15, R.V, 
margin). The inscription of Mesha comes nearer to 
the Old Testament, and illustrates it more directly than 
any other inscription hitherto found." 

The attempt made by Jehoram to reassert the 
dominance of Israel, at first wonderfully successful, 
ended in failure, owing, according to the writer of 
II Kings, to an event which illustrates very curiously 
the old Semitic idea of the value of human sacrifice. 
Mesha was besieged in his capital city, and reduced to 
despair, when "he took his eldest son, that should 
have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt- 
offering upon the wall " (II Kings iii. 27). This horrible 
sacrifice, made in full view of the besieging army, 
apparently so impressed the allies with the conviction 
that Chemosh must fight for one who had done so 
much for him, that they retreated at once, holding it 
useless to prosecute the siege further. Not only the 
Edomites, but the men of Israel and Judah as well, 
shared in this belief. It is a very remarkable instance 
of the continued power of that old superstition from 
which Abraham had to be delivered by the trial of 
Moriah (Gen. xxii.), and which we find occurring 
as still a possibility, if only one to be repudiated, to the 
mind of the prophet Micah : " Shall I give my first-born 
for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin 
of my soul ? " 

The Edomites, a race living south of the Land of 
Moab and the Dead Sea in Mount Seir, and accounted 
by the Hebrews to be closely related to themselves as 
being the descendants of Esau, are chiefly remembered, 
after the generations of strife which are reflected in the 
historical books of the Old Testament, for, the extra- 
ordinary virulence of hatred towards them which is 
expressed in such passages as Ezekiel xxxv. 1-15 ; 
Obadiah 10-16, and Psalm cxxxvii.y a hatred naturally 
enough explained by the attitude of the Edomites 

262 EDOM 

towards their sister nation in the day of Judah's great 

Interest in Edom has been re-awakened by the 
discovery on the hills above Petra, the capital of the 
land, of a wonderfully perfect specimen of the " high 
place" so often mentioned in the Old Testament. 
Petra lies most romantically in the midst of an amphi- 
theatre of red sandstone rocks. The only access to the 
town is by a narrow gorge, i J miles long and some- 
times only 12 feet wide, bordered by magnificently 
coloured cliffs from one to two hundred feet high. 
Within the amphitheatre the ruins of the ancient 
buildings are surrounded by cliffs which are simply 
honeycombed with caves used in ancient days for 
dwellings or for tombs. From the side of the town a 
narrow path leads up to the top of the cliffs, where 
on a large level area of rock 500 feet by 100 are 
the remains of the high place. In the centre is a great 
shallow court 47 feet by 20, hewn out of the rock, 
apparently for the accommodation of the worshippers. 
West of the court rises a large altar, hewn also out of 
the solid rock, and still showing the rectangular 
hollow in which the fire was placed. There is also a 
rock-cut trough for the performance of the necessary 
rites of ablution, and a circular depression seemingly 
intended for the pouring out of drink offerings. We 
have already seen, in the high place of Gezer, one of the 
earliest of these places so often denounced in Scripture. 
Here at Petra we see one of the last of them, for the 
Petra High Place dates from shortly before the 
Christian Era. Its existence helps us to understand 
how all down through her history, from its beginning 
to its close, Israel was surrounded with the constant 


temptation to all the licence of heathendom, and how 
necessary was that protest which her loftier spirits 
unceasingly made against any paltering with the false 
faiths which surrounded her, or any lowering of the 
claim of Jehovah to be the "one living and true God." 



THERE are at present before the public three views of the 
date at which the Exodus of Israel from Egypt happened : 
(i) The traditional view, which supposes Ramses II to have 
been the Great Oppressor, and the Exodus to have taken 
place in the reign of his son and successor Merenptah who 
reigned from about 1234 to 1213 B.C. (2) The view, by no 
means a new one, but maintained with greater vigour since the 
discovery of the Tell-el-Amarna tablets and that of the 
Merenptah stele, that the Exodus took place very much 
earlier, as early, in fact, as the beginning of the Eighteenth 
Dynasty (1580 B.C.). (3) The view of Professor Eerdmans 
that all our dates for the early relations of Egypt with Israel 
are far too early, that Joseph himself is the Arisu, Aarsu or 
Yersew of the Great Harris Papyrus, that he dominated Egypt 
in the interval between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynas- 
ties, somewhere before 1200 B.C., and that the Exodus took 
place in the reign of one of the weak Ramesside Pharaohs of 
the end of the Twentieth Dynasty. With this last hypothesis 
we need not concern ourselves the difficulties which it intro- 
duces in the way of finding time for the events of the history 
of Israel prior to the establishment of the monarchy are 
so great as to rule it absolutely out. Practically the field 
is held by Nos. i and 2, the Traditional view, and the 
Eighteenth Dynasty view. No. 2 has recently been restated 



with considerable freshness and vigour by Mr. H, R. Hall 
in his "Ancient History of the Near East." His first 
point is that the mention of the people of Israel on the 
Triumph stele of Merenptah discovered in 1896 by 
Flinders Petrie at Thebes, makes it certain that there 
were Israelites in Palestine in the reign of Merenptah. 
The passage runs : " The people of Israel is laid waste 
their crops are not, Kharu (Palestine) has become as a 
widow by Egypt." If there were Israelites in Palestine in 
Merenptah's reign the Exodus must surely have taken place 

The second point is that an Exodus in Merenptah's reign 
leaves insufficient time for the period of the Judges.* This 
of course applies with infinitely greater force to the view 
of Professor Eerdmans. Thirdly we have in the Tell-el-Amarna 
letters the frequent mention of a race of wanderers called 
Habiri who are devastating Canaan and capturing Egyptian 
possessions there in the time of Akhenaten (1379-1365 B.C.), 
and this race looks very much like the wandering Hebrew 
tribes, coming up from the desert and taking possession of 
their own inheritance. Mr. Hall's arguments will be found 
fully stated in his "Ancient History of the Near East," 
chapter ix. Undoubtedly, this view is a tempting one, and 
has several points in its favour, which might be held sufficient, 
were it not for even weightier considerations on the other 
side. The Merenptah stele is an obvious difficulty in the way 
of the traditional theory. If the Exodus took place in 
Merenptah's reign, and yet there were Israelites in Canaan in 
the same reign, then it follows either that some of the tribes 

* While Mr. Hall objects to reducing the traditional length of the 
period of the Judges, he has no objection to expanding the period of 
wandering in the Wilderness by adding 160 years to it. " Two cen- 
turies seem hardly too long for the period of Nomadism." ("Ancient 
History of the Near East," p. 408.) 


of Israel must have returned from Egypt at the end of the 
famine in the time of Joseph, or else that some of them must 
have remained in Canaan when Jacob and his family came 
down. The latter hypothesis is that favoured by Professor 
Petrie himself. Further, both the name and the actions of 
the Habiri suggest very forcibly the name and the actions of 
the Hebrews. 

That, however, is all that can be conceded to the hypothesis. 
There is a distinct philological difficulty in the way of identi- 
fying the Habiri with the Hebrews. Mr. Hall believes it can 
be got over ; but other authorities are equally certain that it 
cannot (vide Handcock, " Latest Light on Bible Lands," pp. 
79-8i). Leaving that out of consideration altogether, how- 
ever, there are other facts which seem to tell with fatal weight 
against the Eighteenth Dynasty hypothesis, and in favour of 
the traditional view. First, we have the definite statement 
(Exodus i. n), that the Israelites built for the Oppressor 
" store-cities, Pithom and Raamses." Raamses is sufficiently 
dated it is Per-Ramses, the royal town which Ramses II 
built at Tanis ; Pithom has been shown by Naville to contain 
no buildings of earlier date than the time of Ramses II. If, 
therefore, the Biblical statement is true, then the Israelites 
were still in Egypt under Ramses II, and the Exodus was not 
earlier than the time of Merenptah. Mr. Hall attempts to 
evade the force of this argument by suggesting that the names 
of the towns are the gloss of a scribe who filled in in later 
days the names of towns known to him in or near the Land 
of Goshen ; but we are not entitled to assume that everything 
which does not square with a favourite theory is a gloss ; and 
the general trustworthiness of the Scriptural narrative of the 
Exodus is unquestioned. 

Once more, the Habiri met with in the Tell-el-Amarna 
letters are not without leaders, and these leaders are 


named. They are Canaanite chiefs allied with the invaders, 
and their names are Milkili and Labaya. How do 
the narratives which name them make no mention of 
Joshua, and how has the Scriptural narrative forgotten to 
mention the part played by Milkili and Labaya? Mr. Hall 
admits that "we cannot identify any persons mentioned 
in the Book of Joshua with any of the men who play 
a part in the contemporary records of the Tell-el-Amarna 
letters," and can only try to break the force of this admis- 
sion by the statement that "Names, especially foreign 
names ... are easily altered and forgotten in traditional 

The final, and perhaps the most important, argument against 
the identification of the Hebrews with the Eighteenth 
Dynasty Habiri is afforded by the course of the subsequent 
history. Suppose we have Israelites in Palestine fairly estab- 
lished by the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty. In the begin- 
ning of the Nineteenth Dynasty, Sety I passes in two cam- 
paigns right across Palestine from south to north, bringing 
back countless prisoners of the Beduins and Khabiri." 
Ramses II also in repeated campaigns passed up through the 
land. Why have we no mention in the Israelite records of 
these great invasions and the losses caused by them ? Mr. 
Hall argues that this is not to be wondered at if the Hebrews 
were at this time strictly confined to the hill-country. " The 
Egyptian re-occupation of Palestine was probably no more than 
a securing of the Heerstrasse from the Shephelah to the Plain of 
Jezreel and thence to the Valley of the Orontes," But in 
Sety's invasion Pe-Kanana, "the Canaan," was captured, and 
on Mr. Hall's own admission, " It is probable that this was 
the capital city of Canaan, Jerusalem itself." Jerusalem is 
surely in the hill-country of Palestine, and, if Sety captured 
it, he must have marched into the hill-country to do so. 


Besides he brought back with him, as already quoted, 
" Countless prisoners of the Khabiri." If the Habiri are 
Hebrews he had surely been meddling with the hill-folk 
ifter all. Yet we are asked to suppose that all this 
happened, with the Israelites in the land, and no notice 
whatever was taken of it in their records. Frankly this is 

In the reign of Ramses III came the great Invasion of the 
Sea-Peoples. They swept from Cilicia right down through 
Syria and Palestine, making their camp according to the 
inscription of Ramses, " in the midst of Amor " (Amurru, 
Palestine). Ramses met and beat them, and advanced, re- 
asserting his authority, to the extreme northern bounds of the 
Egyptian dominion. Again the Hebrew records bear no trace 
of an event which changed the whole history of the ancient 
East for the time. Surely the only possible explanation of 
this strange omission is that the Hebrews were not yet in the 
land to witness these events, but were still in the Eastern 

On the other hand, the period after the close of the reign 
of Ramses III would suit admirably for the entry of the 
tribes into Palestine. There was no strong State left to 
withstand them ; all the former landmarks had been oblite- 
rated by the destroying advance of the Sea-Peoples, who 
overthrew and absorbed even the Hittite confederacy. Egypt 
was in the hands of the weakling Ramessides, and could 
do nothing. The field was open for Joshua and the 

On these grounds, though with some reluctance, and admit- 
ting that the difficulty of the Merenptah stele has not yet 
been solved, the traditional view of the date of the Exodus 
has been adhered to in Chapter Eleven and elsewhere through- 
out this volume. Provisionally the date might be placed 


at 1213 B.C. or thereabouts, almost at the end of the reign 
of Merenptah.* 

* The latest suggestion of a solution for the problem of the 
Merenptah stele is found in Professor Petrie's quarterly, "Ancient 
Egypt," No. 2, p. 90. <( It seems more likely that there was a partial 
Exodus along with the Hyksos, the Hebrews appearing perhaps as 
the Khabiri, and the Israel of Merenptah, while the Exodus record 
refers to the remainder of the Israelites leaving under the nineteenth 

It must not be overlooked that the difficulty cuts both wa\s, for if 
the Israel of the stele be the Israel of the Biblical Exodus they pre- 
served no record of their overthrow by Merenptah. Yet the Hebrews, 
almost alone amongst ancient races, were generally candid enough 
over their defeats. 


THE following short list of volumes includes the most 
important and useful books available to the English reader on 
each section of the subject. 


Principal G. A. Smith : " Historical Geography of the Holy 
Land"; "Jerusalem," 2 vols. (Hodder and Stoughton). 

Rev. J. Kelman, D.D. : " The Holy Land " (A. and C. 
Black). ? 

Townsend MacCoun, M. A. : " The Holy Land," 2 small 
vols. (Partridge). 

Professor S. R. Driver : " Modern Research] as Illustrating 
the Bible " (Schweich Lectures). 

R. S. Macalister, M.A. : " A History of Civilization in 
Palestine " (Cambridge Manuals). 

H. R. Hall, M.A. : " Ancient History of the Near East " 

W. M. Thomson, D.D. : " The Land and the Book " (still 
of interest in spite of date). 

Sir G. Maspero : Relative chapters of " The Struggle of the 
Nations," and " The Passing of the Empires." 

P. S. P. Handcock, M.A. : "The Latest Light on Bible 
Lands " (S.P.CK.). 

R. S, Macalister, M.A. : " Bible Side-lights from the Mound 
of Gezer " (Hodder and Stoughton). 




Sir A. Layard: "Nineveh and its Remains"; "Nineveh 
and Babylon." 

G. S. Goodspeed, Ph.D. : " A History of the Babylonians 
and Assyrians " (Smith, Elder). 

H. Winckler, Ph.D.: "The History of Babylonia and 
Assyria" (Hodder and Stoughton). 

Rev. C H. W. Johns, Litt.D. : "Ancient Assyria" (Cam- 
bridge Manuals) ; " Ancient Babylonia " (Cambridge Manuals). 

H. R. Hall, M.A. : " Ancient History of the Near East " 

H. R. Hall and L. W. King : " Egypt and Western Asia " 

Sir G. Maspero: "The Dawn of Civilization" (S.P.C.K.); 
" The Struggle of the Nations " (S.P.C.K.) ; " The Passing of 
the Empires" (S.P.C.K.); "Life in Ancient Egypt and 
Assyria " 

A. H. Sayce, D.D. : "Babylonians and Assyrians" 

W. St. Chad Boscawen: "The First of Empires" (Harper 

H. V. Hilprecht: ".Recent Research in Bible Lands." 

L. W. King : " Babylonian Religion " (Kegan Paul). 

T. G. Pinches, LL.D. : " The Religion of Babylonia and 
Assyria " (Constable). 

M. Jastrow : " Religion of Babylonia and Assyria." 

C. J. Ball : " Light from the East." 

H. V. Hilprecht : " Explorations in Bible Lands " (T. and T. 


W, M. Flinders Petrie; "History of Egypt" (Methuen); 


"Syria and Egypt" (Methuen); "Israel and Egypt " 
(S.P.C.K.) ; " Researches in Sinai " (John Murray) ; " Religion 
of Ancient Egypt " (Constable) ; " Religion and Conscience in 
Ancient Egypt " (Methuen). 

E. Wallis Budge: "History of Egypt" (Kegan Paul); 
" Egyptian Religion " (Kegan Paul). 

J. H. Breasted, Ph.D. : " A History of Egypt " (Hodder 
and Stoughton) ; " Development of Religion and Thought in 
Ancient Egypt " (Hodder and Stoughton). 

Sir G. Maspero : All volumes referred to in preceding list 
(Assyria, etc.). 

Adolf Erman : " Egyptian Religion " (Constable) ; " Life in 
Ancient Egypt." 

G. Steindorff, Ph.D. : " Religion of the Ancient Egyptians " 

E. Naville: "The Old Egyptian Faith" (Williams and 

A. E. P. Weigall: "The Treasury of Ancient Egypt" 
(Blackwood); " Akhenaten, Pharaoh of Egypt" (Blackwood). 

Talbot Kelly : " Egypt " (A. and C. Black). 

J. A. Todd : " The Banks of the Nile " (A. and C. Black). 

H. R. Hall, M.A. : " Ancient History of the Near East " 

H. R. Hall and L. W. King : " Egypt and Western Asia " 


J. Garstang, D.Sc. : " The Land of the Hittites " (Constable). 
H. R. Hall, M.A. : "Ancient History of the Near East" 

D. G. Hogarth, M.A. : " Ionia and the East " (Oxford). 
Sir G, Maspero : Relative sections of vols. already named. 



A. H. Sayce, D.D. : "The Hittites." 
Wm. Wright, D.D. : "The Empire of the Hittites." 
Articles on all sections in " Encyclopaedia Biblica " (A. & C. 
Black), and " Dictionary of the Bible" (T. & T. Clark). 

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AAHMES, 193 

Aaron, 210 

A ban a, 6 

Abdashirta, 250 

Abci-Khiba, 29, 242 

Abraham, 30, 61, 62, 75, 83, 87, 

92, 160, 169, 178, 179, 187, 

190, 247, 261 
Abu Habba, 1 36 
Abydos (Abtu), 181, 182, 184, 


Abyssinian Mountains, 167 
Achsah, 23 
Acre, 46, 51 

Adad-nirari III, 135, 257 
Adouai, 234 
Adonis, 234 
Adrammelech, 1 1 1 
Ahab, 39, 40, 104, 255, 256, 257, 


Ahaz, 105, 106, 255, 258 
Ahaziah, 40 
Ai, 18 
Ajalon, 1 1 
Akhenaten, 29, 121, 196, 252- 

245, 250 
hymns, 237-239 
Akkad, 85, 141 
Akra, 28 
Alexandria, 166 

corn -ships of, 168 
Alphabet, Philistine use of, 73 
Altaku, battle of, 108 
Altar of Gezer, 67 
Alu, 155 
Amalekites, 8 
Amaziah, 30 
Amen, 141, 199, 215, 232, 235, 


Amenemhat III, 190, 191 
Amenhotep II, 206 

III, 194, 196, 231, 232, 250 

IV. See Akhenaten 

Amontes, 61-68 

at Gezer, 62-67, 199 
invade Palestine, 240, 241, 

250, 251 
Amos, 24, 41 
Amraphel, 92, 93 
Anak, sons of, 59-61 
Anath, 204 

Animal worship, 215, 216 
Annu, or On. See Heliopolis 
Anshan, 1:^3 
Anshar, 152 
Anti-Lebanon, 6 
Anu, 141, 143, 151, 152, 155 
Anubis, 223 
Apepa II, 191, 192 
Apis Bull, 215, 216 
Apsu, 151, 152 
Arabian Mountains, 164 
Arad-ea, 1 56, 1 59 
Aramaeans. See Syrians 
Aram Naharaim, 70 
Arbela, 141 
Arioch, 92 
Ark, 157, 228 

Ark of the Covenant, 219, 228 
Armenia, 75, 90, in, 112 
Arnuanta, 254 
Aruru, 154, 155 
Asa, 30, 255 
Ascent of Blood, 1 9 
Asenath, 190 
Ashdod, 70 
Asherahs, 66 
Ashkelon, 70 
Ashur, god of Assyria, 98, 139, 

Ashurbanipal, 113-1 16, 1 36, 140, 

146, 151 

Ashurdan III, 258 
Ashur-etililani, 135 
Ashur-natsir-pal III, palace of, 




Ashun-natsir-pal III, statue of, 

133. 134 

records of, 144 
Asia^Minor, 75 
Assiout, 170 
Assur, city of, 98 
Assyrians, character of, 97 

conquest of Egypt. 1 1 3 

destroy Samaria, 4 1 

tall of, 1 1 6, 117 

nation of robbers, 103, 104 

rise of, 98-100 

Aswan, 164, 166, 170, 193, 214 
A ten, 233, 234, 238, 239 
Aziru, 250, 251 
Azupirani, 90 

BAAL, 40 

Baasha, 30, 255' 

Babel, Tower of, 141, 142 

Babylon, 79, 80, 85, 96, 116, 

120-124, 126, 141, 248 
Babylonia, 77, 78 
Baghdad, 130 
Balawat, 136 
Barada. See Abana 
Barak, 43, 44 
Beersheba, 3, n, 17, 26 
Behistun, 137 
Beit-Jibrin, 60 
Bel. See Enlil 
Belka, 13 
Bel-shar-utsur (Belshazzar). 122, 


Belvoir, 46 
Benaiah, 23 
Bener-ab, 183 
Benhadad, 255, 256, 257 
Berosus, 83 
Bethany, 22 
Bethel, n, 17, 18, 22, 26, 39, 

216, 228 

Bethlehem, 1 8, 22, 23, c 6 
Bethsaida, 53 
Bethshan, 44, 45, 72 
Beyrout, 3 
Bezetha, 28 
Bint-Anat, 204 
Birs Nimrud, 142 
Black Obelisk, the, 104, 135, 

Boghaz-Kyoi, 246-249, 251-253 

Borsippa, 85, 142 
Botta, P. E., 127-130 
Brick, use of in Babylonia, 83 
Buckingham, J. S., 126 
Bulrushes, field of, 148, 223, 224, 

Byblos, 242 

CAIRO, 165, 1 66, 167 

Calf, Golden, 216, 227, 228 

Canaanites, 39 

Canning, Sir S., 131 

Capernaum, 53 

Carchemish, battle of, 119, 194, 

247, 254 

Carmel, 4, 39, 43, 46 
Caspian, 96 
Cataract, First, 164, 165 

Fourth, 194 

Central Range, 9, u, 14, 37, 38 
Chariot, use of, 39, 40 
Chedorlaomer, 30, 92, 93 
Chemosh, 260, 261 
Cheops, 185 
Cherubim, 219 
Chorazin, 53 

City States, 84-89, 140, 141 
Confession, negative, 222 
Creation Story, Egyptian, 214, 


Creation Tablets, 136, 151-154 
Crocodile River, 12 
Cros, Captain G., 1 37 
Cunaxa, 79 
Cuneiform, 84, 86 
Cyaxares, 116 
Cyrus, 122, 123 

Cylinder of, 123 

DAMASCUS, 104 and note, 105- 

106, 254-258 
Damietta, 165 
Dan, 3, 216, 228 
Danaoi; Danauna, 254 
Darius, 137 

David, 24, 27, 30, 72, 73, 256, 259 
Davis, Mr. T. M., 244 
Dead, Book of the, 221-224 
Dead Sea, 18, 19 

distance from Mediterra- 
nean, 3 

level of, 10 



Deborah, 39, 43 

Decapolis, 51 

Delta, 165, 166, 173 

Deluge, story of the, 82, 154, 
157, 158, 228 

DSr-el-Bahri, 125, 193, 205 

De-Sarzec, 137 

Desert, 7-9 

Dibon, 259 

Driver, Prof., quoted, 65, 260 

Dudhalia, 254 

Dur-Sharrukm, 107, 128 

Dushratta, 251-252 

Dynasties, Egyptian, Xllth, 

190, 191 

XVIIIth, 193, 196, 265, 268 
XlXth, 197, 208-211, 265, 

XXth, 265 

EA, 141, 143, 148, 151, 152, 153, 

157, 158 

Ea-bam, 149, 155. 156, 159 
Eastern Range, 9, 10 
Eden, 81 

Edom, 105, 261-263 
Eerdmans, Prof., 265, 266 
Egypt, art of, 175, 176 

character of country, 161- 


climate of, 166 
conquest of Ashurbanipal, 

conquest of Esar-haddon, 


first inhabitants of, 1 80 

interference in affairs of 
Palestine, 162 

religion ot, 174-175, 212- 

revival under Necho, 1 1 8 
Ekron, 70, 108 

Elam; Elamite, 90, 92, 93, 114 
Elijah, 8, 40 
Elisha, 40 

Elysium, Hebrew idea of, 5 
Emim, 60 
Endor, 45, 149 
Eninnu. 91 

Enki-du. See Ea-bani 
Enlil, 88, 141, 157, 158 
Ephraim, Mount, 38 

Erech, 141, 1 54, 1 59 
Eridu, 77, 85, 141 
E-sagila, 141-143 
Esar-haddon, 111-113, 135, 146 
Esdraelon, Plain of, 6, n, 14, 

Euphrates, 76 et seq. 
Evans, Sir A., 125 
Exodus, the, 187, 204, 208 

date of, 265-270 
E-zida, 141 
Ezion-geber, 5 

FLANDIN, E., 127 

Forest of Lebanon, House of, 30 

Foundation Sacrifice, 64 


Galilee, business centre, 50 

character of, 48 

circle of Gentiles, 47] 

fertility of, 47 

lower, 47 

population of, 48 

roads of, 49 

upper, 47 
Galilee, n, 17, 46 
Galilee, Sea of, 3 

level of, 10, 50, 51 

shape of, 52 

towns around, 53 
Gath, 70 
Gaza, 70, 105 
Gehenna. See Hinnom ] 
Gezer, 57 

altar of, 67, 180 

Amorites, 61 

high place of, 65 

houses at, 58 

walls and tunnel of, 64 
Gibeon, pool at, 2 3 
Gideon, 39, 44 
Gihon, Fountain of, 33. 1 08 
Gilboa, 45, 72 
Gilead, 6, 10, 14, 50 
Gilgames, 148, 149, 154-159 
Gilukhipa, 196, 231 
Godfrey, 32 
Goliath, 60, 61 

Good Hope, Cape of, doubled 
bv Egyptians, 45, 171 



Goodspeed, Prof., quoted, 121 
Goshen, 192, 195, 201 
Groves. See Asherahs 
Gubaru (Gobryas), 123 
Gudea, 91, 92, 137, 140 
Gur, ascent of, 40 

HAA-AB-RA (Hophra), 119 
Habiri, 63, 266-270 
Hades, Babylonian, 148-150 
Hall, Mr. H. R., 249, 266-268 
Hamath, 256-258 
Hammurabi, 93-96, 1 37 
Handcock, Mr. P. S. P., 267 
Hanno, 105 
Haram-esh-Sherif, 28 
Har-Megeddon (Armageddon), 

Hatshepsut, Queen, 193-194 
Hatti. See Boghaz-Kyoi 
Hattm, 45, 54 
Hattusil 1, 249 

n,2 53 

Hauran, 0, 10, 14, 40 
Hazael, 104, 257 
Heart, weighing of, 222, 223 
Heaven, Egyptian, 223-225 
Hebrews, 15 

conservative nature of, 16, 


isolation of, 21 

Hebron, u, 18, 22, 23, 26, 37 
Hehopolis, 179, 190, 213 
Hermon, Mount, 6, 7, 10, 47 
Herod Antipas, 53 
Herod the Great, 3 1 
Herodotus, 167 
Heth, 247 
Hezekiah, 27, 30, 33, 108, in, 


High Place, Gezer, 65-67 

Petra, 262 

Hilprecht, Prof., 125, 128-129 
Hinnom, 29 
Hippos, 53 
Hiram of lyre, 5 
Hittites, 61, 96, 100, 199, 206, 

240-241, 246-254 
Horites, 57 

at Gezer, 58, 180 

Horus. 220 
Hoshea, 106 
Hospitallers, 46 
Hyksos, 178, 187, 191, 192 

IMHOTEP, 184, 185 
Immortality, Egyptian belief in, 

175, 186, 187, 214, 220-227, 


Infant sacrifice, 66 
Inundation, Nile, 167-169 

commander of, 173, 183 
Irkalla, 149 
Irkhuleni, 256 
Irrigation, systems of, 77 
Isaiah, quoted, 5, 6, 41, 59, 80, 

105, 107, 109, 116, 124, 128, 

130, 171, 172, 182, 207, 258 
Ishtar, 141, 149, 155, 158 
Isis, 220 

JACOB, 23, 61 
Jaffa, 3, 5, 12 
Jehoahaz, 118, 258 
J ehoiachm, 1 1 9 
Jehoiakim, 118 
Jehoshaphat, 5, 259 
Jehu, 40, 104, 257 
Jeremiah, 27 
Jericho, 19, 65 
Jeroboam II, 258 
Jerusalem, 109 

fall of, 119, 120 

divisions of, 28, 29 

holy places ot, 3 5 

pictured by prophets, 35 

pools at, 23, 33 

situation ot, 28 

Temple of, 30-31 
Jesus Christ, 9, 17, 19, 31, 32, 

35. 3<3, Si. 53-55 
Jezreel, 39.40, 45 
Joash, 30, 258 
John the Baptist, 8 
Jonah, 6 
Joppa, 3. 5, 12 

Joram, 104, 255, 257-259, 261 
Jordan, 3 

Valley of, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 

Joseph, 23,161, 187,190-192,205 



Joseph and Mary, 176, 187 
Josephus, 48, 202 
Joshua, 1 8, 59, 65, 268 
Josiah, 45, 118, 171 
Judaea, barrenness of, 16 

unntness for site of city, 25, 

isolation of, 1 8 

mountain of, 1 1 

pastoral land, 24 

plateau of, 22 

smallness of, 17 

waterless, 23 
Judas Iscariot, 17 
Judas Maccabaeus, 31 
Judgment after death, Egyptian, 
147, 221-223 

KADESH, 206, 253 
Kalah, 80, 100-102, 104, 135 
Karnak, 193, 199, 201, 253 
Kassites, 96, 98, 249 
Kedron, Valley ot, 28, 29 
Kelman, Dr., quoted, 3, 7, 18, 

24, 26 

Khaemuas, 210 
Khalra, 188 
Khartum, 167 
Khatti. See Hittites 
Khnum, 214 

Khorsabad, 107, 126, 127, 133 
Khufu, 185 
Khumbaba, 155 
King, L. W., quoted, 158, 

i Go 

Kingu, 152 
Kir, 255-258 
Kishar, 152 
Kishon, 44 

Klein, Rev. F. A., 259 
Knossos, 69, 125 
Kouyunjik, 127, 135, 136 

LABAYA, 268 

Lachish, 108, no 

Lagash, 85, 87, 88, 91, 92, 137, 


Lakhamu, 152 
Lakhmu, 152 
Lanssa, 80 
Larsa, 141 

Layard, Sir A. H., quoted, 80, 

81, loo 

work of, 1 30-1 36 
Lebanon, 6, 47, 185 
Libyan Mountains, 164 
Litany, 6 
Lot, 87, 92 
Lubim, 114 
Luggal-Zaggisi, 88 

MACALISTER, Mr. R. S., at 

Gezer, 57-71 
MacCoun, Mr. T., 22 
Machpelah, 247 
Magdala, 53 
Manasseh, 112 

Marduk, 123, 140-143, 151, 153 
Maritime Plain, 9, 11, 12, 14, 

21, 26,43, 7 
Matariyeh, 190 
Matthew the Publican, 49 
Mattiuaza, 251, 252 
Medes, 116, 122 
Mediterranean, 3, 50 
Megiddo, 194 

battles at, 43, 45, 46, 1 1 8, 171 

excavations at, 63 

foundation sacrifices at, 65 

prototype of Armageddon, 


Melchizedek, 30, 84 
Memphis, 113, 190, 213-215 
Mena, 183 
Menahem, 105 

Merenptah, 197 and note, 198, 
206, 209, 265. 260 

stele of, 266, 270 
Mesha, 259, 200, 20i 
Mesopotamia, 76-78, 80 
Middle Kingdom, 169 
Midianites, 8, 39, 44 
Milkili, 268 

Minoan Empire, 69, 125 
Minos, 09, 125 

Mitanni, 99, 196, 231, 251, 252 
Moab, 6, 10, 14, 259, 261 

mountains of, 8, 10 
Moabite Stone, the, 259, 260 
Morgan, M. de, 93, 137 
Moriah, 28 

Moses, 5, 161, 169, 178, 179, 197, 
204, 210, 240 



Mosque of Omar, 28 
Mosque el Aksa, 28 
Mosul, 127, 130, 131, 132, 135 
Mukayyar. See Ur 
Mummu, 152 
Mursil, 252, 253 
Mutallu, 253 
Mykena, 125 

NAAMAN, 40, 259 
Nabopolassar, 116. 118 
Nabuna'id, 89, 122, 123 
Naharaina, 76 
Napoleon, 21, 46. 187 
Naram-Sin, 89, 90 
Nathanael, 50 
Naville, Prof., 193, 203 
Nazareth, 50, 51 
Nebi Yunus, 126 
Nebo, 142, 143 
Nebuchadrezzar, 31, 79, 119- 

122, 144 
Necho, Pharaoh, 45, 118, 119, 


Negeb, 19, 20, 

emiah, 31 
Neit, 214 
Nephilim, 60 
Nerigal, 148, 159 
New Empire, 169 
Nidaba, 88 
Nile, Blue, 167 

influence on Egypt, 164- 

J 73 

White, 167 
Nimrod, 80 

Nimrud, 126, 131, 132, 135 
Nineveh, 79, in, 112, 114, 135, 

136, 141 

Ningirsu, 88, 140 
Nimb, 102 
Ninus, 80 

Nippur, 137, 141, 1 60 note 
Nisir, 157 
Nisroch, in 
Noah, 82 

No-Amon. See Thebes 
Nudimmud, 152 
Nusku, 143 

OLIVES, Mount of, 28, 31, 32 
Omri, 104, 255, 259 
Ophir, 5 

Ophrah, 39 

Orpntes, 6, 252, 253, 256 
Osiris, 181, 201, 202, 220-223 
Oyuk, 247 

PALESTINE, boundaries of, 3-9 

coast-line of, 4, 5 

divisions of, 9-15 

smallness of, 3 
Pames-Isis, 203 
Papyrus, 171 , 

the Great Harris, 265 
Patesi, 84, 91, 98 
Paul, St., 6, 9, 1 68, 226 
Pekah, 105, 106, 255, 258 
Pe-Kanana, 268 
Pelusium, 109 
Persepolis, 133 
Persian Gulf, 75-77, 96 
Persians, 122 
Petra, 262 
Petrie, Prof. Flinders, 182, 201, 

208, 266, 270 
Phaistos, 125 

Pharaoh, double title of, 173-174 
Philistia, 12, 13 

Philistines, 44, 45, 56, 60, 68-74, 
208, 254 

culture of, 73 

use of alphabet, 73, 74 

use of iron, 70-72 
Phoenicians, 4, 74 
Pithom, 202-204, 267 
Place, Victor, 128 
Pompeius, Cnaeus, 31 
Porter, Sir R. Ker, 126 
Port Said, 166 
Poti-pherah, 190 
Prosopis, 206 
Psalms, Babylonian, 147 
Ptah, 214, 215 
Pteria. See Boghaz Kyoi 
Pul; Pulu, 105 
Put, 114 

Puzur-Amurru, 157 
Pyramid Texts, 220 
Pyramids, 179, 181, 185-188 

QARQAR, battle of, 256j 

RA, 141 

Raamses, 202, 203, 267 

Ramesseum, 201, 202, 253 



Ramoth-Gilead, 39, 255, 257, 

2 59 

Ramses II, 197-210, 253, 265, 
267, 268 

III, 70, 254, 269 
Raphia, battle of, 107 
Rassam, Hormuzd, 136, 144 
Rawlinson, Sir H., 137 
Rebekah, 61 
Red Sea, 206 
Rehoboam, 30 
Religion of Amorites, 65-68 

of Babylonians, 139-160 

of Egyptians, 212-229 

of Horites, 58 
Rephaim, 60 
Rezin, 105, 106, 255, 258 
Ribadda, 242, 250 
Rich, C. J., 126 
Richard I, 32 
Rim-sin, 93 
Rosetta, 165 

SABBATH, 145, 146 

Sacrifice, Babylonian, 146, 150 

Sais, 214 

Saktjegozu, 247 

Saladin, 45 

Samaria, n, 14, 17, 37 

fall of, 41, 42 

idolatry in, 40, 41 

openness of, 38 

precocity of, 41 

weakness of, 38, 39 
Samaritans, 42 
Samsuditana, 248 
Samuel, 149 
Sardanapalus. See Ashurbani- 


Sargon of Akkad, 89, 90, 137, 

of Assyria, 39, 106, 107 

palace of , 128-130, 135 
Saul, 45, fc 72, 149 
Sayce, Prof., 144-146 
Scopus, Mount, 31 
Sea-Peoples, 70, 254, 269 
Seqenen-Ra, 205 
Semiramis, 80 

Sennacherib, 107-112, 135, 136 
Senusert, 190 
Set, 220 

Sety I, 197-199, 205, 206, 252 


Shaduf, 1 68, 169 
Shakalsha, 254 
Shalmaneser I, 99 

H, 103, 104, 135,256,257 

in, 258 

IV, 106 

Shamash, 89, 94, 136, 141 

Sharezer, in 

Sharon, Plain of, 12, 43 

Shechem, 37, 46 

Sheol, 150 

Shephelah, 12, 14, 20, 39 

Ships, Egyptian, 170, 171 

Shirpurla. See La gash 

Shishak, 30 

Shrine, Egyptian, 218, 219 

Shubbiluliuma, 249-252 

Shunem, 44, 50 

Shurippak, 157 

Sidon, 4, 49 

Siloam, inscription and tunnel, 

33- 34, 108 

Sin (Moon-god), 141, 149 
Sin, lack of sense of, in Egyptian 

religion, 219, 222 
Sinai, 92 

mines of, 189 
Sin-shar-ishkun, 116 
Sippara, 89, 136, 141 
Sisera, 39, 44 
Sit-napishtim, 156-159 
Smith, Principal G. A., quoted, 
4, 13, 18, 24, 25, 27, 28, 
50, 51, 52 

Prof. Elliot, 244 

George, 136, 142 
Solomon, 5, 30, 73, 144, 185 
Somaliland, 189 
Sphinx, the Great, 188 
Stone, first building of, 185 
Succoth, 204 
Sukut, 203, 204 
Sumer, 85 

Sumerians, 85, 89, 139, 140, 145 
Susa, 137 

Swine as sacrificial animals, 59 
Syrians, 254-259 

Tabor, Mount, 43 
Taharqa, 112, 113 



Tahutmes I, 193 


205, 231, 249 
Talmud, quoted, 48 
Tamerlane, 97 
Tammuz, 149 
Tandamani, 113 
Tanis, 201, 203 
Tanutamen, 113 
Taricheae, 53 
Tarshish, 5 
Tarsus, 17 
Tasmit, 143 

Taurus Mountains, i, 75 
Teh6m, 151 
Tekoa, 18 
Tela, 101 
Tell-el-Amarna, 236, 237 

letters, 13, 29, 63, 99, 231, 

241, 243, 247, 250, 266 
Tell-el-Maskhutah, 203 
Tello. See Lagash 
Temple of Jerusalem, 30, 31, 

144, 228 

Temples of Babylon, 141-144, 

of Egypt, 217-219, 228 
Teumman, 114 
Thargal, 93 
Thebes, 113, 114, 181, 190, 199, 

201, 213, 215 
Thoth, 223 
Tiamat, 151-153 
Tiberias, 52, 53 

hot baths at, 54 
Tiberius, 53 
Tidal, 92 
Tiglath Pileser I, 100 

IV, 105, 106, 135, 255, 258 
Tigris, 76, et passim chapters 


Tirhakah, 112, 113 
Titus, 31 
Tjakaray, 254 
Todd, Prof. J. A., 167 

Tombs, Prehistoric Egyptian, 


Tristram, Canon, 22 
Tsarpanitum, 141 
Tulliz, battle of, 1 14 
Turn (Atum), 203, 204 
Tump, 242 
Ty, portrait of, 1 89 
T yi Queen, 231, 232, 244 
Tyre, 4, 49 
Tyropaeon, Valley, 28 

Ukhat, 155 
Umma, 87, 88 
Umm-el-Gaab, 182 
Upshukkinakku, 152 
Ur, 85, 141 
Urukagina, 87, 88 
Ushabtis, 225, 226 
Uzziah, 30 

VALLE, P. della, 126 
Valley of the Kings, 244 
Van Lake, 100 

WARKA. See Erech 
Winckler, Prof., 247, 253 


Yasili Kay a, 247 

ZAB, Lower, 100 

Zakro, 254 

Zamzummim, 60 

Zealots, chiefly Galileans, 48 

Zebulun, 5 

Zedekiah, 119, 120 

Zeser, 184, 185 

Ziggurat, 83, 86, 142, 143 

Zion, Mount, 28 

Zoan. See Tanis 


Genesis x, verse 10, p. 154 ; verse 15, p. 247 

xi, verses 1,2. pp. 82, 151 

xiii, verse 10, p. 168 

xiv, verse 6, p. 57 

xxii, p. 261 

xxiii, verses 1-3, pp, 61, 247 

xxvii, verse 46, p. 61 

xxxvi, verse 20, p. 57 
Exodus xiv, verse 23, p. 206 
Numbers xi, verse 5, p. 168 
Deuteronomy i, verse 28, p. 59 

ii, verses 12, 22, p. >7 
xi, verses 10, n, p. 170 
xx, verses 16-18, p. 62 

Joshua vi, verse 21, p. 260 ; verse 26, p. 65 
Judges i, verse 1 5, p. 23 

1 Samuel xiii, verses 19-22, p. 72 

xv, verses 3, 15, p. 260 
xxiii, verse 4, p. 260 
xxyiii, verses 13, 14, p. 149 

2 Samuel viii, verses 5, 6, p. 256 

xxiv, verse i , p. 260 

1 Kings xv, p. 255 

xvi, verse 34, p. 65 

2 Kings iii, verse 4, p. 259 ; verse 27, p. 261 

vii, verse 6, pp. 247, 249 
xiii, verse 5, pp. 257, 258 
xv, verse 19, p. 105 
xvi, verse 9, p. 255 
xvii, verses 24-41 , p. 42 
xviii, verses 1316, pp. 109, no 
xix, verses 35-37, pp. 108, in 
xx, verse 20, p. 33 
xxv, p. 1 20 

2 Chronicles xxxii, verses 4~3 P- 33 
xxxv, verse 21, p. 1 18 
xxxvi, p. 1 20 
Ezra iv, verses 1-5, p. 42 
Psalms civ, pg. 238. 239 

cxxxiii, verse 3, p. 7 
cxxxvii, verse 7, p. 261 



Isaiah vii, verse 3, pp. 105, 258 

x, verses 5, 13, 14, 19, pp. 116, 207 

xiii, verses 19-22, p. 80 

xiv, pp. 124, 182 

xviii, verses i, 2, p. 171 

xix, verses 4-10, p. 172 

xx, verse i, pp. 107, 128 

xxviii, verses 3, 4, p. 41 

Ix, verses 8, 9, pp. 5, 6 

Ixv, verse 4, p. 59 

Ixvi, verse 17, p, 59 
Jeremiah xxxix, p. 120 

xlvi, verses 11, 12, p. 119 
Ezekiel viii, verse 14, p. 149 

xxxv, verses 1-15, p. 261 
Daniel iv, verse 37, p. 122 
Obadiah, p. 261 
Micah vi, verse 7, p. 261 
Nahum iii, verse 8, pp. 114, 117 
Zephaniah ii, verses 13-15, p. 80 
St. Luke xix, verses 41, 42, p. 35 
St. John iv, verses 21-23, PP- 36. 4 2 
Revelation xvi, verses 14-16, p. 46 



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